Fish en Papillote (Fish Baked in Parchment Paper)

It’s 5 p.m. and I’m hungry, but I don’t feel like cooking or facing the small but mighty mountain of dishes that would inevitably take over the tiny kitchen if I did. This happens sometimes.

In this situation there are several possibilities for five-minute lazy dinners for the everyday woman. Smashed avocado on toast with salt. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with banana. Tomato and hummus sandwich.

Does this happen to you? A quick little sandwich can be good but not always satisfying.

With just a smidgen more effort, you and I can turn out a really, really good dinner. Resist ordering pizza. Hear me out.

This meal starts with a pretty piece of fish, in this case an orange fillet of salmon, hanging out with one of my favorite herbs, fresh rosemary.

We also start with a French part of the name – en papillote – that simply tells you a food is wrapped and cooked in paper. So, in a packet of parchment paper, salmon is placed on top of a couple of bushy sprigs of rosemary and covered in cherry tomatoes and shredded kale. The packet is sealed like a candy wrapper, and everything steams together for about 15 minutes. The salmon cooked this way is succulent and so flavorful, thanks in part to a bit of white wine. Super light, too, since this is only fish and veg that cooks without the help of butter or oil. We set up some white basmati rice in the rice cooker before chopping the few vegetables, and a half hour later or so, probably less, everything was ready. We’ve already had this a couple of nights, and I know it’ll show up regularly in my kitchen.

If I haven’t sold you on this recipe yet, know that you can use this as a guideline and go with any combination of fish, herbs, and vegetables you have around or want to use. Just don’t forget a squeeze of lemon at the end.

Easy, quick, and most importantly, you’ll love it.

fish en papillote

You can use pretty much any type of fish you want and follow these instructions. Also, I like this combination of kale and rosemary, but use any herbs (cilantro or thyme would be good) and vegetables you want or have around. I cook fish with the skin on because it doesn’t bother me and adds flavor. Go with or without, it’s up to you.

4 rosemary sprigs
2 5-ounce fish fillets
1 cup lightly massaged and shredded kale
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 lemon

Heat oven to 450°F.

Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper, about 14 inches wide each. Lay one sheet of parchment over the other and do the same with the other two sheets, leaving the longest side of the parchment paper facing horizontally.

Place 2 rosemary sprigs horizontally in the middle of each parchment stack. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Place fish (skin side down if you’ve got it) on top of the rosemary. Divide half of the tomatoes, kale, and any other vegetables and place each half over a fillet. Add a pinch more of salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of white wine over each set of fish and vegetables.

Seal each packet by crimping and rolling up the parchment paper like the wrapper around a hard candy. Press on the ends to make sure the packets are closed and no steam will get out. Place packets on a baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. It’ll be about 10 minutes for a 1/2-inch thick fillet and 15 minutes for a 1/-inch thick fillet.

To serve, use a fork to carefully open the packet and let out the hot steam. Squeeze a fresh lemon over each fillet.

Serves 2.

Recipe adapted from Steamy Kitchen.



35 thoughts on “Fish en Papillote (Fish Baked in Parchment Paper)

  1. Wow! I have been on a total fish kick lately and I will be adding this to the “Must make right away list”…in fact, I think you just helped me plan dinner for tomorrow 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is so good. But I have a question. Would it be possible to sear the skin quickly over high heat and then cook it in the parchment paper?

    Or maybe you could reverse it: Cook it in parchment paper and then sear the skin quickly on high heat.

    Any thoughts?

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  4. I made it tonight and it came out so delicious! I added some diced onions, garlic, and thyme and forgot the kale and served with broccoli instead, but I was really surprised how quick and moist it still was without butter or olive oil. I will definitely be doing this more often with other types of fish:)

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  10. I just made this last night. WOW. It was so fast–done by the time my man got back from walking the dog. I used tilapia because salmon is expensive these days, but it was so tasty. This is definitely my new go-to quick fix dinner recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  11. My daughter just gave me fresh caught salmon fillets. I rubbed a light coat of honey mustard on both sides of the salmon, Dijon or honey Dijon would work, I then sprinkled a liberal amount of dried dill weed on both sides of the salmon as well as some fresh ground pepper and fresh ground sea salt to taste. I added 1/3 cup diced sweet onion, and a tablespoon of olive oil combined with a tablespoon of melted butter as I didn’t have dry white wine on hand. Baked in the parchment pouch at 425° for 10min, opened the pouch to finish baking, and to add a little crust and color to the fish, about 5min more, or until done. I served with oven roasted petite red skin potatoes and baby carrots, but rice or regular russet potato wedges, oven roasted, would work fine also.

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