We don’t eat anywhere near as much seafood in Singapore as I thought we would.
The seafood variety here is probably slightly better than in Australia, but the quality is probably not as good. Most supermarkets sell a large range of whole fish and the usuals like prawns, mussels and crabs, but they often don’t look fresh enough for my liking. A lot of the smaller supermarkets also have a self serve policy, so often you will see a little old auntie using her bare hands to go through the prawns, picking out the best ones. Umm…pass.
I’ve definitely seen butchers in Singapore, but no western style fishmongers. I haven’t gone to a wet market yet though, so perhaps that’s the place to get your seafood fix.
We have had the obligatory chilli crab at the touristy, spruiker central and unsurprisingly overpriced Boat Quay. It tasted great, but I think if you haven’t grown up eating crab, it can be hard to know how to get all of the crab meat out of the whole crab that you are served. To me, a whole delicious crab like that is a waste if you don’t know how to get every last morsel out of it.
We still go to Boat Quay most weeks for trivia at an Aussie pub. The restaurant spruikers are relentless. It’s not just seafood restaurants along that part of the river but you get a lot of: ‘Sir, Mam, our chilli crab here is the best.’ We just politely shake our heads and keep walking but that obviously doesn’t satisfy a seafood craving.
I resorted to frozen fish that was being sold with a label ‘thawed for my convenience.’ Nice touch. More like the supermarkets convenience though. It was nice and fresh though when I opened it. The fillets were still nice and firm and not too fishy smelling at all.
Baking fish in a bag is pretty forgiving as the liquid in the bag will turn into steam and help keep the fish moist even if you overcook it a bit. The vegetables also steam in the wine and butter, making a flavourful sauce so that when you open the bag, you have a whole meal in there ready to go.
This fish was labelled as Bocourti at the shops. I quickly looked it up on my phone and found that Bocourti is actually just Basa. Any firm, white fleshed fillets will do the trick.
Wine is so expensive in Singapore that I have taken to buying these mini bottles.
If you cut the leek nice and fine, it will easily cook in time.
I bought these large, stuffed green olives for this and they were delicious. Half were stuffed with pimento and the other half were stuffed with whole almonds. Yum.
Lay the fillets flat and then fold in each edge so that the fillet is a third of its original size. This will help the fish fit in the bag and also ensure it cooks slower to ensure the vegetables are cooked as well.
Layer up those goodies.
When making the parcels, leave plenty of room around the filling to ensure room for steam.
Placing the parcels on the preheated tray ensures the liquid inside should start to steam quickly.
Reduce or increase the cooking time if your fish fillets are smaller or larger than the ones that I used.
Fish Baked in a Bag with Leek, Tomatoes and Olives
Ingredients – serves 2-3
- 3 fillets of basa or another firm, white fish. Each fillet should weigh between 150g to 190g
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper to season
- 1 small leek, white part only, sliced finely
- 6 cherry tomatoes halved
- 6 large green stuffed olives, halved
- 3 fronds of dill plus extra for garnish
- 3 tbs of white wine
- 1½ tsp unsalted butter
- Bring the fish out of the fridge around 20 minutes before starting to cook. This will help it start to come up to room temperature and therefore cook more evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place a baking tray in the oven at the same time and preheat that too.
- Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Lay the fillets flat, then fold in each edge so that the fillet is a third of its original size.
- Take 3 large pieces of baking paper. Lay even amounts of the leek, tomatoes, olive halves and dill fronds on each piece. Place the folded fish pieces on top, folded side down. Fold and crimp the edges of the baking paper leaving in small opening.
- When you have just a small opening on each pouch, pour 1 tbs of wine and place ½ tsp of butter into each pouch. Ensuring no liquid escapes, finish folding and crimping the baking paper to form a loose parcel around the contents.
- Wrap each parcel in foil to ensure no steam will escape.
- Place on the preheated tray and bake for 16 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 2 minutes before opening the parcels.
- Serve either in the parcel or remove the fish and vegetables from the parcel, ensuring you pour the leftover sauce over the fish.
- Garnish with extra dill fronds and serve with steamed potatoes.