French Fish Supper
Trout en Papillotte is what this recipe would be called. I love doing fish in paper (papillate). You can bake it in foil too, of course, but does not have the same je ne se qua. This is a simple way of cooking fish that retains the flavour and firmness of the fish. If you are one of those people who never cook fish at home because you aren’t comfortable with it, this is the best and easiest way to cook it. Fish en Papillote is when a small fishes or fillet (s) are topped with finely sliced veggies and lemon and wrapped up in baking paper into a parcel. The parcel is cooked in the oven and acts as a steamer. The parcels are served at the table, so each person has the pleasure of opening up their parcel, releasing the amazing fragrance. The veggies and additions you use with the fish should take into account what fish it is. If it is a robust fish like sea-bass or salmon you can add strong flavours such as onion, carrot, celery, garlic,capers, tomatoes, olives, basil. But if you have a delicate, white fillet you need to be conservative on your choices. You need to slice the veg. very finely indeed to insure it is cooked in the 12 minutes it takes to cook a smallish delicate fillet of fish.e.g. Trout, Sole, Plaice or even Cod.
This is so quick and easy, but, your guests will be well impressed, I promise!! I hope this has given you some ideas for your own fish in papillote. Here is my recipe for a favourite of ours.
Trout– 1 fillet per person (or Sea Bass) The Sea Bass in Britain is farmed and usually around 10 inches long so a fillet would be even smaller.
Fennel finely sliced. Fennel is good with any fish.
New Potatoes cooked & sliced fairly thin
Herbs, Parsley or Fennel or Dill.
Wine-2 Tablespoons of dry white wine.
Olive Oil-a glug
Lemon zest (or lay thin slices of lemon on top of the fish instead)
MAKE a rub with the zest, s & p and the Olive oil
RUB on both sides of the fish (if using a whole fish, outside and inside)
PLACE the cooked potato slices on parchment paper
LAY the fillet on top of the potato slices
SLICE fennel on a mandolin or
ZAP fennel slices in the microwave and place on top of the fillet (or in the cavity of a whole fish with some fennel fronds)
FOLD the paper over the fish and tie or twist one end
SPOON in the white wine and tie the other end making a Christmas cracker shape.
BAKE in the oven 180C, 160 fan, 350 F, for 12 -20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish or if it is a whole fish.
You can always open yours (not your guest’s) and check if the fish is done. It should be opaque and pull away with a fork.
12 minutes is enough for a fine fillet of Trout.
SERVE with veg. of your choice,e.g. peas, mange tout, French beans, Broad beans, Asparagus and be ready for the gasps of amazement and ooos and awwws.
Three ways of folding the parchment paper, are pictured at the top. One is like a Christmas Cracker and the other is folded round like a pasty and the other is tied at both ends. Be sure to leave enough room for the steam to rise.