Megan Greenberg says she is a “mom-taught cook,” who has been cooking since she was a little girl in Fort Pierce. When she went away to college, she pursued more than academics.
“I realized I didn’t want to eat ramen noodles all the time, so I stepped it up a bit in the kitchen,” she says.
The more she learned about cooking, the more she loved it. Today, her primary occupation is a freelance production coordinator/project manager, but she has recently started to offer personal chef services under the name “Megan Cooks for You.”
What Greenberg cooked for The Observer was a lovely, light entrée that looks intimidating but is easy to prepare. Flounder en papillote is really just fish baked in parchment paper, which you can buy in the supermarket.
“You cut up some herbs, throw some fish on top and cook it,” she says.
The paper wrap contains the moisture, so the fish is enveloped in seasoned stem for a delicious result that requires remarkably little effort by the cook. Greenberg’s entire menu can be prepared in 45 minutes plus or minus, including prep time.
You can use this method with other firm-fleshed white fish, such as halibut or cod. Flounder is typically the least expensive at around $15 per pound, so you can serve dinner for four, including side dishes, for less than $30. Greenberg buys her fish from Whole Foods. She unwraps it before serving, but you can plate the fish still in its paper and let diners open their own if you like. The wrapping technique is easy; see how Greenberg does it in a video at YourObserver.com.
Greenberg’s tastes run to the fresh and “less frou-frou.” She uses nothing processed and believes “cooking light is not just steamed carrots; healthy food can be both decadent and flavorful.” Her favorite cuisines are French and Italian; her passions include the judicious use of butter, cream, garlic, wine and lemon.
“Megan Cooks for You” services range from baking cookies and family dinners to catering private parties.
“I would like to be a fixture in someone’s home and get to know their likes and dislikes,” she says.
FLOUNDER EN PAPILLOTE
8 scallions, white part thinly sliced crosswise; green tops reserved
12 cilantro sprigs, leaves removed and chopped, stems reserved
4 flounder fillets (total 1 pound)
Freshly ground pepper (can use white pepper)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ginger juice*
3 tablespoons light sesame oil or walnut oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
*Ginger juice is available at Whole Foods in the Asian aisle. Greenberg uses the Ginger Man brand, which is all-natural and shelf stable. It costs about $3.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare four 10-inch squares of parchment paper and fold in half. In the center of each piece, make a bed of scallion tops and cilantro stems. Season the fish fillets on both sides with salt and pepper, and place one fillet on top of each herb bed. Scatter the lemon zest over the fish, and top each fillet with one tablespoon of the butter.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, ginger juice, sesame oil and soy sauce. Spoon the mixture over the fish. Fold the squares in half diagonally and seal all the edges by crimping them together. Put the packets on a cookie sheet.
Put the sheet in the oven and bake until the packets puff slightly — eight minutes for thinner fillets, 10 minutes for thicker. Remove the packets from the oven.
To serve, cut open each packet, being careful not to spill any liquids and avoiding hot steam that may escape as you open it. Use a slotted spatula to transfer one fillet to each of four dinner plates, leaving the herbs behind. Pour cooking liquid from the packets into a bowl, and spoon some over each fish. Scatter chopped cilantro and sliced scallions over the fish. Serve immediately.
You may substitute flounder with any fish of your liking, preferable a white fish, such as Asian striped bass, halibut or cod.
Pair with sautéed kale with olive oil and garlic and a side of jasmine rice with mint.
***Watch the video below to see Megan prepare flounder en papillote***