Fish en Papilotte
Cooking “en Papilotte” is an easy and nutritious way to prepare fish, seafood and vegetables. If you’re looking for nutritious, you may want to omit the optional beurre blanc from the recipe. The French translation for “en Papilotte” is “in paper” and refers to the parchment pouch that encases the vegetables and fish. The pouch is baked in a hot oven and the contents steam in their own moisture, creating a tender and flavorful dish that is hard to beat. Clean up is a breeze.
In Boy Scouts we used to make “Hobo Dinners” where we wrapped raw hamburger patties in foil pouches with potatoes, and threw them on the campfire to cook. I always looked forward to those. This recipe is a little more refined but the parchment technique could be used for cooking anything from vegetables and seafood to hamburgers and chicken.
We prepare this dish on our Foodie Trips to Provence. One of my favorite fish choices for this dish while we are in Europe is the Mediterranean Gilt-Head Sea Bream. Here in Maine I usually turn to Haddock or Halibut, but any fish would work. A few alterations worth mentioning are: change up the vegetables depending on the season or what is in your refrigerator and replace the olives in the tapenade with sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil).
Haddock Tapenade en PapilloteCourse: EntreesCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy
12 fingerling potatoes
1 medium-sized zucchini
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup mixed pitted olives
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
4 six ounce haddock fillets
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
Tapenade (recipe below)
1 Tablespoon capers
Beurre blanc, optional (recipe below)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 anchovy fillets
2 cups pitted olives (country mix or kalamata)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Beurre Blanc (optional)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon finely chopped chives
- Place the cleaned fingerling potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring the water to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, cooking the potatoes for 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the water and allow to cool.
- Once the potatoes are cool, slice them thinly lengthwise.
- Preheat an oven to 350-degrees F.
- Using a mandoline, spiral slicer or a chef’s knife, cut the zucchini and carrot into thin ribbons or julienne.
- Commercial parchment paper comes in 16”x24” sheets, and works great for papillotes. If you don’t have access to a restaurant supply store, regular parchment comes in 15-inch wide rolls and it will work. For the large commercial sheets, fold 4 pieces in half width-wise. For the narrow rolls, cut four 2-foot long pieces and fold them in half width-wise. With scissors, round the corners of the parchment rectangles, creating sets of straight sided-ovals connected by the folds.
- Open the 4 ovals of parchment paper, creating a bottom (closest to you) the fold and then the top (away from you). Drizzle the bottom of each set with olive oil, leaving a 1-inch border untouched all around the oval.
- Start layering on each oiled oval, beginning with the sliced potatoes, zucchini and carrot ribbons, olives, rosemary leaves, sprinkling with a little Kosher salt and black pepper as you go.
- Top each mound with a fillet of haddock and squeeze over a little lemon juice and a splash of white wine.
- Spread the top of each haddock fillet with a few Tablespoons of Tapenade and sprinkle each with the capers.
- Fold each papillote closed: Fold the top piece of parchment back over the top of the mound of fish and vegetables. Starting at the opening next to one edge of the attached fold, create a series of little creases by folding the paper up from the counter, overlapping the crease before it. Continue around the oval, sealing up the packet until you reach the fold at the other end of the oval. Fold this last crease down, tucking it under the weight of the packet to hold it in place.
- Place the papillote packets on a baking sheet and into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. The packets will puff up as the food starts to steam, so make sure there is plenty of clearance above the packets.
- Remove the packets from the oven and rush to the table for service. Part of the spectacle of this dish is the releasing of the steam table side. Do this carefully (at a distance with a long dinner fork and sharp knife) to prevent any burns as the hot steam escapes. Serve with side of beurre blanc if desired.
- Combine all of the ingredients but the olive oil, in the food processor and blend until well pureed.
- With the food processor still running, drizzle in the olive oil until it is well combined.
- Beurre Blanc
- Dice the butter and bring to room temperature.
- Heat the oil in a small 2-quart saucepan. Sauté the onions over medium heat for 2 minutes, but do not allow them to brown. Deglaze with the white wine and vinegar and reduce over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Again, do not brown. Add the heavy cream and reduce the mixture by half, whisking occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter until well incorporated. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, discarding the solids. Season with salt and white pepper and stir in the chives. Keep in a warm place (not too hot or it will break) until serving.