Seafood

Mediterranean Fish En Papillote

February 25, 2020
Photo by Derek Farwagi
Author Notes

Everything sounds better in French, especially food!

For example “Volaille Sauce Velouté”, sounds much more refined than “chicken with sauce”. Even plain vegetables cut into small diced pieces sound special in French – “Legumes Brunoise”. Or how about “Potage Crecy” which is nothing fancier than carrot soup; or one of my favorites, “Pommes a’ l’Anglaise” for boiled potatoes which is a reference to the days when all English cuisine was known for was boiled vegetables.

Early in my culinary adventures, in Paris, I came across “Poisson En Papilliote” (pronounced papiyot), a classic French cooking method that sounds fussier than it really is. In reality, it is simply fish poached in a parchment pouch with fresh herbs and a few vegetables for both flavor and color. When cooked ‘en papillote’, a fish fillet cooks in its own juices and the technique works very well with filleted or whole fish like Halibut, Cod, Sole, Branzino, Trout, Striped bass and Red Snapper.

The dish should be served in the pouches and the best part is in opening them to release all the delicate aromas that have built up during the cooking.

This healthy recipe has all the classic flavors of the sunny Mediterranean, with tomatoes, black olives, capers, olive oil and lemon. It is also a quick and easy way to serve something quite different that makes a big impression.
Derek Farwagi

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 2 6 oz Halibut fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Handful grape tomatoes, halved
  • 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 Lemon thinly sliced
  • A drizzle of olive oil on each portion.
  • Sprigs of fresh Thyme (Dried Thyme would also work)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash fish fillets and pat dry. Season both sides with salt and black pepper.
  3. Fold 2, 14x12-inch pieces of parchment paper in half. Using scissors, cut paper into a heart shapes
  4. Unfold the hearts and sprinkle red onion slices onto one side of the parchment paper to form a bed for the fillet. Place fillet on onions.
  5. Top each fillet with equal amounts of tomatoes, olive and capers. Top each fillet with a lemon slice and sprigs of fresh Thyme.
  6. Fold the parchment over the filling. Starting with a corner, make small folds around the edge to form a sealed packet.
  7. *Poach in oven for 15-18 minutes.
  8. Transfer pouches to a plate and gentle pierce each with the tip of a small sharp knife. Use scissors to make a cut the length of the pouch, then accross at the center. Be careful and aware of the hot steam that will escape.
  9. Fold the parchment over the filling. Starting with a corner, make small folds around the edge to form a sealed packet.
  10. Serve pouch with steamed spinach or fingerling potatoes, or grilled fennel.
  11. *Note This recipe is for 3/4 inch Halibut fillet. Thinner or thicker fish, including sword fish may need different cooking times.

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