From Publishers Weekly
The warm, languid air of the South filters through this engaging book, in which Foose shares the traditional recipes that she ate while growing up on the Mississippi Delta and has returned to after training as a pastry chef in France and traveling the world. Gently humorous stories about family and friends form a seamless part of her instructions for community recipes like Strawberry Missionary Society Salad, as well as pleasant surprises like Tabbouleh, Curried Sweet Potato Soup, and Chinese Grocery Roast Pork that take Southern food beyond stereotypes. Fried chicken and grits do appear, but for such classics Foose emphasizes relatively simple, wholesome preparations that are rich without loading on more butter and oil than necessary. Although recipes for Gumbo Z’Herbs, Chile Lime Skirt Steak, and creamy succotash are mouthwatering enough just to read about, many cooks will be tempted to flip straight to the last chapters, where her enticing breads and pastries provide the book with a winning flourish. The cook may be Southern, but the appeal of the dishes she presents should reach well beyond people who grew up in the land of four-hour lunches and sweet tea savored on a porch swing.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
6 (6-ounce) U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh dill
1 lemon, sliced into 6 thin rounds
1. With nonstick cooking spray, lightly spray all over the outside of six lunch-size paper sacks. The bags should be slightly translucent after spraying. Cut six 8-inch lengths of butcher’s twine. Set aside.
2. Adjust the racks in the oven, placing one in the lowest slot and one in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
3. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the garlic, salt, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
4. Place the catfish in a single layer in a dish. Pour the sauce evenly over the fish, and then sprinkle with the pepper. Place one dill sprig and one lemon slice on each fillet. Gently slide each fillet into each paper sack. Gather the mouth of the bag and give it a twist, then tie with twine.
5. Place three bags on a large rimmed baking sheet and the other three on another baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, halfway through reversing the pans. Serve at once, placing an inflated sack on each dinner plate. For maximum effect, slice open the bags at the table.
The sacks can be assembled and refrigerated 1 hour before baking. Add 5 minutes to the baking time if the sacks are coming right out of the fridge.
For added flavor and to round out the meal, place a few blanched asparagus spears beneath the fish and a thin slice of prosciutto or country ham draped across the top of the fish in each bag before baking.
This same dish can be prepared with fennel and oranges in place of the lemon and dill.
To learn more about Martha and her schedule of upcoming events, visit marthafoose.com.