Cooking fish “en papillote” is a great way to enhance flavor and preserve nutrition with the added bonus of a beautiful presentation.
Halibut “en papillote” — sounds fancy, right?
This simple cooking method is a go-to when I am running low on time but want to appear as if I’ve put a lot of work into dinner.
The hubs is always impressed. Although once he reads this, the cat will be out of the bag.
En papillote means to cook “in parchment.” Basically, you tightly wrap parchment paper around your dish — usually fish and/or veggies — creating a pouch, then bake. The contents are cooked by the steam created by the tight seal.
The whole process takes 20 minutes.
You can really throw anything you like in there.
For this Halibut en Papillote, I chose cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. In the past, I’ve added things like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and peppers.
Sometimes chefs will blanch vegetables before adding them to the package, but I like to keep the process as straightforward as possible. I throw mine in raw and they cook just fine.
The beauty of this dish is that you can make a really great meal, with a lot of flavor, using just a few ingredients. Aside from the fish and vegetables, all you need is a good olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and an herb of choice.
I used thyme because I have a ton growing in my herb garden, but you can use anything you like — basil, oregano, parsley, you name it.
Want fresh herbs at your disposal at all times? Check out How to Start an Herb Garden (For Dummies) >>
Last but not least, this dish is incredibly nutritious.
You’ve got wild-caught fish, packed with omega-3 fatty acids that protect heart health and support brain function. You’ve got cherry tomatoes, delivering an ample dose of lycopene, a potent antioxidant that may reduce the risk of certain cancers. And of course, beta-carotene packed carrots — making your eyes all the better to see this pretty plate.
It’s an all-around winner, and one with endless, delicious possibilities!
- 2 large sheets of parchment paper
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup carrots, sliced
- ½ medium russet potato, sliced ⅛ inch thick
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2, 6-oz fillets of wild-caught halibut (or fish of choice)
- salt and pepper
- ½ lemon
- 4 sprigs of thyme (or herb of choice)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss tomatoes, carrots, potato, and garlic with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Distribute the mixture between the papers, placing about two inches lower than the middle.
- Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Place fish on top of vegetable mixture.
- Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
- Juice the lemon over fish and vegetables.
- Place thyme on top.
- Fold parchment paper over the fish. Crease paper, and press it down all around the fish.
- Begin making little triangular folds around the fish. Start at one corner of the folded side and fold little triangles, one over each other, in a half moon shape until you have reached the other side. Tuck ends under.
- Place parcels on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately, in the paper, for a pretty presentation. Rip to open.
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Weigh in: Have you cooked fish en papillote? Have you cooked anything en papillote?!