En papillote, a French term meaning “in parchment”, is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch and then baked. The pouch is typically made from folded parchment paper, but other material, such as a paper bag or aluminium foil, may be used. The parcel seals in moisture to steam the food.
I have cooked fish and chicken this way for years and on weeknights, it’s an easy all-in-one meal that doesn’t require any pots or pans to be cleaned. I typically use parchment paper for this type of cooking but recently I have found a product in the supermarket that is aluminum foil on one side and parchment paper on the other. I find this product is ideal because foil makes it easier to seal the pouch. I also like the way the foil looks in the final presentation of the dish.
This versatile cooking method provides limitless possibilities for cooking a variety of fish, seafood, chicken, and any combination of vegetables. I recently made boneless chicken breasts and asparagus topped with cherry tomatoes, artichokes hearts, olives, and feta cheese. Most any combination will work well with this method.
To make this recipe, I used my food processor to julienne the zucchini and yellow squash. You can also julienne with a knife or a julienne tool that resembles a zester. Julienned squash is not required for this recipe. You can cut the squash into rounds or thicker strips. Also, most any kind of fish will work with this recipe.
To assemble the pouches, cut a 12″x12″ square of parchment or foil. Place a pile of julienned vegetables on one side of the square.
Salt and pepper the vegetables, add lemon juice and wine, and top with a pat of butter.
Top the vegetables with a filet of tilapia and season with Old Bay Seasoning.
To seal the pouch, start by folding up one side of the pouch. Continue folding up around the pouch, creating a half circle. The goal is to make an airtight pouch, so make sure the edge is completely sealed.
En Papillote is a versatile method of cooking and should become a regular part of your culinary repertoire. It’s quick, easy, and delicious!
4 tilapia filets
1 large zucchini, julienned
1 large yellow squash, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
8 tsp fresh lemon juice
8 tsp white wine
4 pats of butter
Old Bay Seasoning
Lemon slices (for garnish)
Fresh parsley leaves (for garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut 4 12"x12" squares of parchment paper or aluminum foil.
3. Mix zucchini, yellow squash, carrot, and onion in a bowl.
4. Place 1/4 of the vegetables on one side of each parchment or foil square.
5. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon 2 teaspoons each of lemon juice and wine over vegetables. Top with a pat of butter.
5. Place a tilapia filet on top of the vegetables. Season with Old Bay Seasoning.
6. Crimp edge of each squre and place on a baking sheet.
7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the filets.
8. Tear open pouch and garnish with a lemon slice and parsley leaves.