Fish en Papillote is a fancy way of saying Fish baked in a cute little paper packet.
I might have added the cute part.
This is a perfect method for those who are afraid to cook fish. Put the fish and some tasty ingredients on a sheet of parchment paper, fold it over into a (cute) little packet, pop it in the oven, and like magic your fish cooks into tender delicious perfection. As a bonus, you get an incredible, light sauce in every packet.
Tomatoes, olives, and orange zest might seem like unusual flavors for fish but they add interesting Mediterranean flavors without overwhelming the delicate taste of the fish.
As a bonus, this meal goes together very quickly – about 5 minutes prep and 10 in the oven.
Here’s what you need:
Parchment Paper, Fish Fillets*, Tomatoes, Orange, Kalamata Olives, Fresh Thyme, Red Pepper Flakes, Butter, Salt & Pepper. (black cat optional)
*For the fish I’m using fresh American Red Snapper. How fresh? VERY!
That’s my husband hauling it right out of the Gulf of Mexico!
You could also use any mild fish like halibut, mahi, cod, or sea bass.
And if you think that’s a nice fish, check out this Amberjack caught by our friend Evan who was nice enough to sponsor Parking Dudes Go Fishing Day.
We don’t have a boat but we have Evan which, in my opinion, is BETTER because he takes you fishing, CLEANS the fish, and sends you home with more fish than you personally caught.
You’ll be seeing that amberjack again in a week or so.
Back to Fish en Papillote…Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
You can obviously adjust this recipe for any number of servings. You need 3 slices of tomato and about 4-5 chopped kalamata olives per packet.
Save yourself some time and buy pitted kalamata olives.
Orange zest is absolutely the key ingredient to the tastiness of this dish. I was skeptical at first but when we were eating the finished product, every time I would get to a bite with the orange zest, I was incredibly happy it was there.
If you have a zesting tool, use it to make tiny, thin strips of the orange peel.
If you don’t have a zester, use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to cut a small section of peel (avoiding the white, pithy part underneath which can be quite bitter) from the orange like a “twist” for a cocktail. Cut this larger strip of peel into very small narrow strips of zest. I would avoid grating the zest as you really want the pieces big enough to take a bite of the zest with the fish rather than having it disappear into the sauce.
Parchment paper is easily found these days at the regular grocery store in the section with the aluminum foil. Parchment is NOT the same thing as waxed paper so don’t confuse the two.
Tear off a rectangular sheet of parchment about 12 inches long. Fold the parchment in half and then open it up like a book.
Place one boneless, skinless fish fillet (about 6 ounces per serving) on one half of the parchment near the fold. Season the fish with salt and pepper and lay 3 tomato slices and some chopped olives on top.
Sprinkle a few pieces of the orange zest (about 6 or 8 if you’re counting) and 2-3 small fresh thyme sprigs on top. Season with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Use 1 pat of butter (about 1/2 Tablespoon) per packet, break it up into small pieces, and dot the top of the veggies with the butter blobs.
Fold the top of the parchment over the fish and starting at the corner by the fold, turn the edge up in little triangles, folding it over as you move around the packet.
I spent more time than necessary fussing with folding my packets. They don’t have to be perfect. If you have trouble along the straight edge, just give it a little extra fold over. When you get to the last fold, try to tuck it in under one of the other folds to secure it.
TA DA! Repeat those steps to make a packet for each individual serving.
Once your oven has preheated to 500 degrees. Place a sheet pan in the oven for 5 minutes.
After the pan has heated for 5 minutes, place the fish packets on the sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Use a spatula to remove the baked fish packet from the tray onto a plate. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut a slit to open the top. Be careful as hot steam will come out as you open each packet.
Look at the goodness that has happened to the fish and veggies inside the magic (cute) packets!
Slide the parchment out from under the fish and be sure to get all of those good juices.
Serve with some new potatoes, rice, couscous, or this awesome quinoa. Even some crusty bread would be great for sopping up that sauce.
This might be my new favorite way to cook fish. It is so delicious and moist and the flavors are just ridiculous. Oh, and when was the last time you cooked dinner and didn’t have to wash a pan?
Fish en Papillote! Recipe from Gourmet, fish from Jim and Evan!
Here’s the recipe: