Fish En Papillote. Don’t you feel fancy just saying it? Despite what its elegant name might suggest, this method of baking fish in parchment paper packets is one of the easiest, most foolproof methods to cook fish.
This recipe is sponsored by Land O’Lakes
If you are a seasoned cook or a newbie, if you bake fish regularly or if cooking fish scares the pants off of you, or (and this is key) if you think you don’t generally like fish, you are going to find something to love about today’s easy cooking method.
Fish cooked en papillote (which is French for “in paper” and is pronounced ahn-pa-pee-yawt) means to bake fish inside of a pouch made of folded parchment paper.
To make it, you lay the fish fillet in the center of a sheet of parchment, along with any vegetables and seasonings you like (this recipe uses a lemon garlic herb butter spread ♥), then fold the paper up and around the fish to form the pouch. (This Pan Fried Cod uses a similar lemon butter herb sauce on the stovetop.)
As the fish bakes, it steams in its own juices and the flavorings you’ve added, resulting in incredibly tender, moist, and positively scrumptious fish. It’s similar to the method I use for my favorite Baked Salmon in Foil, and it is perfection. Even if you’ve never cooked fish, you can nail baked fish in parchment.
In addition to its fancy French name, fish en papillote also feels extra special to eat. I love preparing fish this way for guests. Everyone gets his or her own little parchment present, and no matter how old you are, presents are fun.
Plus, since you can assemble the packets hours in advance then hold them in the refrigerator, fish en papillote with vegetables is a great make-ahead dinner for entertaining and busy weeknights.
How to Make Baked Fish En Papillote
Think of this recipe as choose-your-own adventure in tasty fish cookery. You can vary the herbs, the vegetables, and even the fish. I have listed a few of my favorite suggestions for you here.
- Fish. Any firm-bodied, flaky fish works beautifully. For this recipe, I used cod, as it is widely available and affordable (it’s also delicious in this Grilled Cod recipe). Salmon, flounder, trout, and halibut are also wonderful fish to bake in paper. Cod can taste a bit, erm, fishy compared to other varieties so if you are newer to seafood, I’d suggest starting with flounder as it is very mild.
- Softened Butter with Canola Oil. For maximum ease, I use Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil. Made with three simple ingredients—sweet cream, canola oil, and salt—it delivers high-quality butter, but is instantly spreadable, so it’s ideal for making a fast, compound-style butters to spread on fish (and bread and vegetables and crackers).
- Garlic + Shallot + Herbs. Mix these right into the butter with canola oil. I used parsley, which we always seem to have lurking in the refrigerator. Thyme, basil, and tarragon taste delightful with seafood too.
- Lemon. Mix the zest with the butter, then slice the lemon and place the slices on top for max citrus bang. You also could try this recipe with oranges.
- Vegetables. Choose any quick cooking, tender vegetables. I used a handful of spinach and halved cherry tomatoes. Thinly sliced zucchini, finely chopped broccoli florets, trimmed asparagus, or a different tender salad green would all work well too.
- Add the Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil, garlic cloves, parsley, shallot, and spices to a small bowl.
- Zest the lemon into the bowl (reserve the whole lemon) and use a fork to smooth.
Tear off your parchment squares and add greens in the center. Top the greens with the fish and spread the butter mixture over the top of the fish. Add lemon slices on top and place tomato halves around it. Fold your parchment paper packets up and around the pieces of fish, roll the ends to seal, and place the packets on a baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, until cooked through. Serve warm with lemon slices and fresh herbs. DIG IN!
What to Serve with Fish En Papillote
Thanks to the protein and vegetables in each packet, this recipe is a wonderful all-in-one meal. If you’d like to round it out further, here are a few ideas of what you could serve with it:
- Vegetables. Add even more vegetables to your meal with Easy Sautéed Zucchini with Parmesan.
- Rice. Make your meal more filling by serving your fish over a bed of Lemon Rice, Creamy Vegan Risotto with Asparagus and Quinoa, or cooked brown rice.
- Salad. Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing would be a delicious, fresh side dish.
More Fish En Papillote Combinations to Try
- Mediterranean. Add a handful of pitted olives along with the cherry tomatoes; sprinkle with feta just before serving.
- Summer Celebration. Omit the spinach; use thyme or basil instead of parsley; add thinly sliced zucchini and/or yellow summer squash.
- Spinach Artichoke. Swap the tomatoes for quartered artichoke hearts.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat fish in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to revitalize the flavors. You can also rewarm the fish in the microwave.
- To Make Ahead. Prepare the parchment packets as directed up to 4 hours ahead, and store them in the refrigerator. Bake as directed.
- To Freeze. I don’t find that cooked fish freezes especially well, but if you’d like to experiment, you can store leftover fish in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Fancy doesn’t need to be fussy with this easy baked fish in parchment. I can’t wait to hear what you think, and which version of it you try!
Fish En Papillote
- 4 6-ounce cod fillets or another firm-bodied fish, such as salmon,
flounder, trout, or halibut
- 1/4 cup Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus additional for serving
- 1 small or ½ large shallot
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small lemon
- 4 cups lightly packed tender salad greens like spinach, arugula, radicchio, or even mixed greens
- 12 cherry tomatoes halved
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, add the Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil, garlic, parsley, shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Zest the lemon right into the bowl (reserve the whole lemon). With a fork, mash the butter with canola oil to smoothly combine all of the ingredients. Cut the whole lemon into thin slices (you will need 8 slices total for the recipe).
- Assemble the Packets: Tear off 4 squares of parchment that are at least 12 inches on each side. Lay the sheet flat on a work surface. Place 1 cup of salad greens in the center of a sheet, leaving space at the top and bottom. On top of the greens, place 1 fish fillet so that it runs vertically top to bottom. Lightly sprinkle the fish with salt. With the back of a small spoon, spread one-quarter of the butter mixture on top of the fish. Lay 2 slices of lemon on top of the butter mixture and scatter 6 tomato halves around the fish.
- Fold the Parchment Packets: Lift the right and left sides of the paper up and towards the center, directly above the fish. Touch the two sides together and tightly roll them, folding as you go, until you reach the fish. Now, roll and crimp the top and bottom ends, rolling them towards the counter, away from the center of the fish. When you reach the end, tuck the end underneath the fish. Place the packet on a rimmed baking sheet, using the weight of the fish to hold the ends in place (you don't want the packet to come unsealed as it bakes). Repeat with remaining three packets. Reserve any remaining lemon slices for serving.
- Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish is fully cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. Serve warm with reserved lemon slices and additional fresh parsley as desired.
- TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat fish in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to revitalize the flavors. You can also rewarm the fish in the microwave until warm.
- TO FREEZE: Store leftover fish in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare the parchment packets as directed up to 4 hours ahead, and store them in the refrigerator. Bake as directed.
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I am sharing this post in partnership with Land O’Lakes. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you.