Sack lunches we're all familiar with, but sack dinners?
Makes perfectly good sense to Randy Heape, who says one of his favorite meals is sole baked in a bag (actually it is wrapped in butcher paper, but it looks like a bag).
Heape, 34, of Dana Point, has won more than a few admirers with the dish, served in individual packages for guests to open at the table.
The fish (he prefers sole) is covered in the bag with champagne and fresh mushrooms. "It's really a steaming process in the oven," he says, "allowing the flavors to permeate the fish."
It's also one of the few dishes he prepares in the kitchen. "I'm primarily a barbecue man," he says, "only not like most others. I cook about anything on the barbecue--including our Thanksgiving turkey."
Heape, a field supervisor for Life Fitness Inc. of Irvine (manufacturers of computerized exercise equipment), alternates cooking chores with his wife, Alice.
"She doesn't barbecue, and I wouldn't dream of making Mexican food," he says. "That's her specialty, and the food is outstanding."
Heape says he didn't get into cooking until after he had left his family home, where both his mother and father enjoy dabbling in the kitchen. "I am blessed with folks who are both good cooks, and I had been raised on good food, properly prepared.
"So, when I got out on my own, one of the first things I discovered was that I really couldn't handle a steady diet of take-out food.
"It was really a matter of survival, and it's something I've come to enjoy a great deal."
RANDY HEAPE'S SOLE IN A SACK Ingredients
12 small sole fillets
24 small mushroom caps
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
12 slices carrots
6 1/2 ounces dry champagne
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 egg white, slightly beaten
Lemon wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, dry mushroom caps and set aside. Slice stems. Spread 1/4 cup butter on oven-proof baking dish and place sole in dish. Top with shallots and salt. Pour over champagne and chicken broth. Sprinkle on the mushroom caps and carrots. Cover pan with foil and place on range and bring to boil. As soon as mixture boils, remove and place in oven for 20 minutes. While fish is baking, melt the butter and slowly stir in flour over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Cut butcher paper about 1 foot square. Liberally coat center of each sheet of paper with butter. When fish has been in oven 20 minutes, remove from oven and drain liquid into sauce pan. Thicken with butter-flour paste, stirring until mixture clings to whisk. Stir in cream and lemon juice. Arrange fillets on paper, 2 to each sheet. Garnish each with carrots and mushroom caps. Spoon about 1 cup of liquid over each sheet and sprinkle with parsley. Brush inside edges of paper with egg white, diluted slightly with water. Fold bottom edge over top edge and crimp to get tight seal. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes (paper will brown). Garnish with parsley and serve with extra sauce on the side.