ASK THE EX­PERT

FROM NAIL­ING A CLAS­SIC TO PICK­ING PER­FECT PRO­DUCE, OUR EDI­TOR SO­PHIE GRAY HAS THE AN­SWERS

Food - - Contents -

Our food edi­tor So­phie Gray cov­ers your queries

Is there a se­cret to the per­fect egg carbonara? Mine al­ways seem to be ei­ther swim­ming in raw egg or clogged in a lumpy dry sauce! A The difficulty is that you need enough heat to melt the cheese and thicken the egg, but not so much as to scramble the egg, which starts to hap­pen at 62°C. I ad­vise mix­ing the eggs and cheese in a sep­a­rate bowl, then drain­ing the pasta, re­serv­ing some of the wa­ter. Dry the pasta in the pot over the heat for a few sec­onds, re­move from the heat and toss through the egg mix­ture; the resid­ual heat will be­gin to thicken the egg. Now add a dash of re­served starchy wa­ter to stop it be­com­ing too thick. Don’t re­turn it to the heat or the eggs will scramble. Q I re­cently had a de­li­cious snap­per en papil­lote in a restaurant, but I strug­gled to re­cre­ate it at home. Is there a trick to wrap­ping the pa­per around the fish – and how do you check if it’s done with­out all the steam es­cap­ing?

A French for ‘in parch­ment’, bak­ing the fish in a tightly sealed pa­per pouch locks in flavour as the fish cooks in its own juices and the sea­son­ings you’ve added. You can’t take a peek with­out los­ing the steam, so cal­cu­late the cook­ing time first. As a rough guide, al­low 10 min­utes per 2.5cm thick­ness – mea­sured at the thick­est part, cooked at 180°C. To wrap, fold a piece of non-stick bak­ing pa­per in half and cut out to cre­ate a heart-shape when the pa­per is opened out. En­sure it’s large enough to in­clude a 4cm bor­der around the fish. Place fish in the mid­dle of one side of heart, add sea­son­ings (such as herbs), driz­zle with olive oil, then fold the other side of heart over fish, lin­ing up the edges. Start­ing at the rounded end, crimp by rolling the edge over on it­self, con­tin­u­ing all the way around twice to cre­ate a dou­ble lay­ered rolled edge. Place on a rimmed bak­ing tray and bake.

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