Don't you just love how the French make the simplest things seem fancy? Wrap up fish in paper with some veggies and seasonings. Throw it in the oven, and voila – Fish en papillote!
Fish en papillote – or fish packets, as I like to call them – make for a fantastic presentation at a dinner party, or a fun way to get your kids to try fish any day of the week.
Plus this dish is a great dinner solution any time of year. Simply swap out the potatoes and herbs for whatever seasonal veggies and herbs you happen to have on hand. I love to use halibut, but fish en papillote works with just about any fish. Dairy-free? Skip the cheese. Don't have mayo? Use extra butter or sour cream instead.
This version with paper thin red skinned potatoes cooks for 30 minutes, but if you decide to skip potatoes and use other veggies instead, you'll only have to bake your fish en papillote for 20 minutes.
The parchment paper seals in the moisture, steaming the contents of the packet so everything is piping hot and delicious when you cut it open. All done and dusted, fish en papillote makes a pretty impressive dinner that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. Yes and yes!
Fish en Papillote Ingredients
- 8 small red skinned potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds halibut, or other white fish – buy seafood here
- Sea salt, for seasoning – this is my favorite sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper, for seasoning
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, or whatever you have handy) plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise – make your own from this recipe
- Parchment paper – I use this one
Fish en Papillote Method
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cut four large squares of parchment paper.
- Using a mandoline, the thinnest blade on your food processor, or just a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes paper thin. Divide potatoes evenly and place at the center of each square. Top with a piece of fish and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Juice the lemon and chop fresh herbs. Grate the parmesan if using.
- Mince the garlic into a small bowl. Add mayo, optional parmesan, lemon juice, and herbs and combine well to make an herb sauce.
- Top each packet with a 1/4 of the herb sauce and spread evenly with the back of a spoon.
- Fold up parchment paper to make a sealed parcel: With the square sheet in front of you, bring the top and bottom edges together and fold over several times. Then fold each remaining side up to make a neat, tight packet.
- Bake for 35 minutes*. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut open the packets, taking care to avoid burns from escaping steam.
- Serve immediately with a simple green salad.
*Cooking time is a bit longer for this version of Fish en papillote because, even sliced paper thin, the potatoes take a bit longer to cook. If you are not using potatoes, reduce cooking time to 20 minutes.