Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fish en Papillote

Forgive me, for I am about to try and teach you something.  Even if this is only my tenth blog post, somehow I feel naively entitled enough to pretend to teach you how to make Fish en Papillote.  Which sounds so much more extravagant then what it really is... fish in parchment paper.  What I love about this dish is that you can make it with whatever vegetables are left over in the fridge and it makes the perfect, puffed little pocket meal for one.  Clean up is easy and there are no leftovers.  The hardest part is making the little parchment paper pouch, but have no fear.  Because, remember, this is where I was going to attempt to teach you!  I also took lots of pictures, so hopefully that should help as well.

Step 1.  Gather all your supplies onto the counter (or if you live in a tiny kitchen apartment, onto your dining room table).  You'll need: fish (I used a filet of mahi-mahi), parchment paper, scissors and a jelly roll pan.  Also, whatever other seasonings you want to put in your pouch.

Step 2.  Fold a LARGE sheet of parchment paper in half and cut out half of a heart.  Open it, and holy manatee, you have a heart.  Now we're getting somewhere.

Step 3.  On one side of your fold, place your fish filet, seasoned on both sides.  Season with at least salt and pepper, and whatever else you want on there.  I added some chipotle pepper flakes and dried basil.  Add whatever vegetables you may have.  I had red onions (I always have red onions) and some cut up broccoli stems.  We're half way there!

Step 4.  VERY lightly drizzle the fish and veggies with some oil and something a bit acidic.  I choose olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Your fish only needs a light coating, because it's natural juices will do most of the steaming.  Plus, if you drizzle too much, you'll be leaking all over the place (although, this is why we do all this on a jelly roll pan) 

Step 5.  Now is the fun part, we get to start folding.  Fold the parchment paper back over the fish.  Starting at the top of the heart, not the pointy end, make small overlapping folds to seal the pouch.  Keep making small folds all the way around until you reach the pointy end.
Twist the tail of the pouch excessively, to make sure it is well sealed.  You don't want your steam or juices to escape.  I like to make the little tail stick up, it makes the pouch more maneuverable.

Step 6. Finally, we move into a 450F oven.  Slide the whole pan in there and bake the fish 12-14 minutes, or until the pouch starts to puff up and get a golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Transfer the pouch onto a plate.

Last, but not least, cut open and enjoy!  Be careful cutting the pouch open, there will be some steam inside.  I tried my best to capture the steam curling out of the cut pouch with my digital camera, but there is only so much magic you can work with a 5 year old Sony Cybershot!

The broccoli and onion inside were deliciously cook and the fish came out flaky.  My flavor combination was interesting to say the least, tasty and smoky from the chipotle pepper flakes, which contrasted interestingly with the balsamic.  I love my chipotle pepper flakes (an impulse buy from Homegoods), but it may need a different acid to go with.  Some other ideas I thought up while it was in the oven:  Sesame oil with orange and ginger; turmeric, cayenne and some Greek yogurt with bell peppers; lemon, olive oil, tomato and thyme.  Yum... the perfect little solo dish.  Let me know if you're more creative than I am!


  1. Pictures were great and informative; although, if this goes south, I think I might just blame you. I feel like trying cilatro, lime and cumin when I give it a go. Let me know what you think.

  2. Nice, I like it! Although, I'd add some cayenne or pepper flakes for heat and because I always add cayenne or pepper flakes. OH! And top with some pickled jalapenos... Congrats, you've got me craving fish at 7 in the morning.


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