About three weeks ago I experimented with preserving kumquats using the same method I use for lemons. Every day I looked at my lovely jar full of kumquats, watching them get more and more translucent until I thought it might be time to test them out.
When you use preserved lemons you generally rinse them off before adding them to whatever you're cooking, and I was curious to know if this would be necessary for the kumquats. I rinsed one and tried it, and then popped another, unrinsed, into my mouth. I liked the unrinsed one best-- the extra saltiness contrasted really well with the sweetness of the rind.
I decided to try them out with a modified version of a fish tagine recipe Jack and I are very fond of. But as I was only cooking for the two of us, I thought I'd bake the fish en papillote. Success! The preserved kumquats imparted a lovely briny lemony-orange flavor to the dish without stealing the distinctive Moroccan flavor we love so much.
Sea Bass with Preserved Kumquat en Papillote
2 sea bass fillets
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tblsp minced fresh cilantro
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tsp sweet paprika
4 threads saffron, toasted and crushed
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 preserved kumquats, cut in half (they should already be nearly cut in half from the process of preserving them-- just finish the job and remove any pips)
6 cracked green olives
Thinly sliced onion and red pepper
Mix the parsley, cilantro, olive oil, paprika, saffron and ginger. Add the juice of half of the lemon. Place the fish fillets along with half of this mixture into a large zip lock bag and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, turning the bag over now and then.
Preheat the oven to 450.
To assemble, place a marinated filet on a large rectangle of parchment paper, so that the length of the filet is centered along the length of the paper, and arrange the thin slices of onion and red pepper on top. Carefully balance the preserved kumquat halves and olives on top of the onion and pepper. Spoon a little of the marinade over the top. To create the package, bring the two long ends of the parchment rectangle together and fold the ends closed, getting very close to but not quite touching the fish. Tuck the remaining sides under the packet and place the whole thing on a baking sheet. Repeat for the other filet.
Bake for 10 minutes per inch (thick). I usually get nervous and add another 3 or 4 minutes to that.
To serve, place the packet on a plate and carefully (steam is hot!) tear it open.
If you find that the fish is not quite done, your microwave is your friend. Pop it in for 30 seconds, and check it. Give it another 15 seconds, if needed.