Fish en Papillote has to be one of the most simple, elegant (yet rustic at the same time?) ways to serve dinner to your guests! We love that it can be made ahead and takes mere minutes to cook, making it the perfect meal for effortless entertaining.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re planning a dinner for that special someone (or more than one, that’s cool too), this main course is perfection! “Fish en Papillote” is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked (papillote is French for parchment paper). They can be prepared ahead and kept in the refrigerated until you need to pop them into the oven, and they make for such a healthy and impressive dinner. And let’s be real, anything that makes you look like Martha Stewart with almost no effort is worth it’s weight in gold!
We paired this dish with the Sandhill Pinot Gris, one of our favourite local wines which is clear and bright with fresh, clean aromas of melon, red apple and peach. It’s a medium-bodied Pinot Gris and has a slightly rich mouth-feel and the perfect splash of acidity on the finish to refresh. Yum!
Everyone knows that it’s Valentine’s Day this month, but not everyone knows that it’s also Heart Month. And when it comes to heart health, from a nutrition perspective the types of fat that you eat really matters. Primarily, reducing saturated fat found in meat and dairy products (nasty trans fats, other than the naturally occurring ones in foods, were banned last year in Canada… so awesome!). Fish is low in saturated fat and, depending on the type, high in heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly). Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Children and pregnant women are advised to avoid eating those fish with the potential for the highest level of mercury contamination (e.g., shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish)(1).
So back to this dish. You can truly use your imagination when it comes to what goes into the package once you get the hang of this. You could add fennel, thin sliced sweet onion … I mean, the sky is the limit! There are a couple of ways to fold the packages, we experimented with both. I’m rather partial to the easier twist and turn at the ends (call me lazy), but the other neat rounded fold is lovely too, there are tutorials on both here! Apparently parchment or foil package meals will be a trend that we’ll see more of in 2019 as people venture into the kitchen more but aren’t willing to slave away for hours on end. And can you blame them (us)?
Whether you make this for Valentine’s Day for someone special or just for a healthy weekday meal that you can prep ahead, I hope you love it. Don’t be shy to purchase the pre-spiralized veggies if that’s getting in your way, there are so many shortcuts out there that are a wonderful help to those who want to eat healthier but are pressed for time. I firmly believe you don’t have to make EVERYTHING from scratch if it’s not your thing!
Fish en Papillote (fish baked in parchment paper)
Fish en Papillote has to be one of the most simple, elegant (yet rustic at the same time) ways to serve dinner to your guests! We love that it can be made ahead and takes minutes to cook, making it the perfect meal for effortless entertaining.
- 12 baby potatoes, washed
- 6 cups spiralized vegetables (zucchini, butternut squash, etc)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 3-4 oz. wild fish filets, skin and bones removed (cod, halibut or salmon work well)
- 8 thin slices of lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs of choice (dill, parsley or paragon work well)
- 1/4 cup white wine (we used Sandhill Pinot Gris)
- 4 pats cold butter
In a medium pot of salted water, boil the baby potatoes until they are fork-tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to touch, cut the potatoes in half and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400F and cut 4 large square pieces of parchment paper (around 1' square each). Set them out on a large table or countertop. Drizzle the fish with olive oil, rub to coat, and season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the spiralized veggies, baby potatoes, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper together to combine.
Divide the veggies evenly among the squares of parchment paper, placing the veggies in the middle of the paper. Top the veggies with a filet of fish, followed by the lemon slices and a pat of butter. Add 1 tablespoon of wine and a sprig of fresh herbs if desired (you can add them at the end after the packets have cooked as well as they are prettier served this way).
Wrap up the packets, folding two opposite sides of the paper over top of the fish to meet each other, then twisting the other open ends to seal the package (see pictures, you can alternately crimp the edges to form a half-circle if you wish). You want to be sure to form a fairly tight seal to keep the steam in as it bakes.
Place the fish packets on a large baking sheet and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, until the fish flakes (the bake time will depend on the thickness of your fish).
Serve the fish on a plate in its package for your guests to open themselves!