Let’s just call this Fish-in-a-Bag for my sake of mispronouncing things.
I’ve given up carbs for the next two months and feeling a whirl wind of emotions. Physically I feel like I could run a few laps around the country, but mentally and emotionally I need my pizza. I knead my pizza dough’. Lol get it. Probably not.
In all seriousness, lucky for you I will be posting low-carb recipes for the next month or two or however long my body can go without pasta. What better recipe to start than with my absolute favorite preparation of fish: Fish en Papillote.
Fish en Papillote translates to “fish in a bag” and is an effective flavor enhancing way to bake pretty much any type of fish. The fish is baked at a high temperature for a short amount of time in a parchment bag. The bag creates steam which puffs up and cooks the fish to delicacy. Although this recipe is a piece of pie, there’ a few things to know:
I used cod because I love its meaty mild flavor. I titled the recipe Fish en Papillote because you can use whatever fish you’d like. This recipe actually originates from culinary school where we used flounder. You can use flounder, rock fish, cod, tilapia, halibut, or even a fatty fish like salmon. If you’re wondering why I have no salmon recipes on here it’s because it’s the only thing I cannot get down. Eek. Alongside the fish you want some complimentary vegetables.
Since we’re only baking this for 10 minutes max, it’s important to thinly slice the vegetables (or julienne) to make sure they are done in the same time. The vegetables I used in the recipe are red pepper, carrot, leeks, and celery. You can use fennel, mushrooms, anything you’d like! Just remember, if you want to use a tough vegetable like asparagus you might want to par boil it. Aside from the vegetables, add in some fresh lemon wedges or orange slices and definitely don’t skip on fresh herbs. The last item in the bag is the butter. Nothing like adding a little butter when we’re trying to be healthy right?
I have this stuff in my freezer at all times. It’s in several of my recipes and nothing more than butter mixed with herbs, lemon, and pepper. Double the recipe and freeze it to throw it on any chicken, steak, fish, vegetables. It’ll change your life. I like to add a little fat in the bag to help the fish cook and to also add some flavor. Once the butter melts and cooks in the bag, it makes a nice little sauce for the fish. Do this. Do this now.
The last part of this recipe is da bag. You can buy parchment cooking bags OR make one yourself with parchment paper. All you have to do is fold a big piece in half, trace half a heart on the folded edge, cut it out and unfold to make a large heart, place the fish and vegetables on one side, fold over and crimp the edges to seal. THAT IS IT.
Once your bag is puffy and slightly brown on the edges, about 8-10 minutes, it’s go time! When serving I recommend letting your dinner guests cut their own bag at their seat. The bag immediately releases steam filled with the aromatic fish, vegetables, and seasonings. Presentation is beautiful, the fish is white and fully cooked – the vegetables are colorful and tender – the butter has melted leaving behind a golden sauce and a puddle of its herbs, and the lemon wedges are slightly colored. And the taste – well I’ll just let you find that one out for yourself. Enjoy!
Fish en Papillote
- 2 fillets of Cod (or fish of choice)
- 1/2 leek
- 2 medium carrots - peeled
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 red bell pepper - cut in half, ribs removed
- 2 oz. herb butter (below)
- 4 parsley stems with leaves
- 4 lemon slices
- salt and pepper as needed
- saffron (optional)
- 2 large squares of parchment paper
- olive oil to brush
- Preheat the oven to 450
- Cut two heart shaped pieces of parchment paper large enough to contain each fillet with vegetables when folded in half. Brush each parchment "heart" with olive oil.
- Prepare the vegetables by slicing each thinly. For the leek I cut the entire leek in half, then take each half and cut lengthwise to split down the center. I then cut my slices and rinse under water. Cut the remaining vegetables in thin slices. For ease, use a julienne slicer or mandolin.
- Toss the vegetables together and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place two fillets on each piece of parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. See pictures above.
- Place one-half of the vegetables on each portion of fish, along with the parsley and lemon slices. Sprinkle over a pinch of saffron if using. Top with 1 ounce of herb butter.
- Fold each paper over and crimp the edges to seal.
- Place the papillotes on sheet pans and bake for 8-10 minutes. The parchment paper will puff up and brown.
- Serve immediately - preferably table side to allow the steam to escape.
Adapted from Chef Stahl from Culinary School
Adapted from Chef Stahl from Culinary School
Maitre d Butter
- 2 sticks butter - softened
- 1 handful basil leaves - chopped
- 1 handful parsley leaves - chopped
- lemon juice to taste
- lemon zest to taste
- pepper to taste
- Cream together the butter and herbs. Gradually add the lemon juice, zest, and pepper until desired taste achieved.
- Spread onto a piece of large plastic wrap. Fold over the butter and use hands to form into a log. Seal and place in the freezer. Good for 3 months!