I LOVE entertaining. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than sitting down to a meal with friends and watching their faces light up as they dig in. It brings me such joy to watch friends and family savour each and every bite of something I’ve cooked up. The hard part is deciding what the heck to make?
Fish is definitely not the easiest thing to make for a crowd…you need to cook it at the last minute, time it to a tee, and let’s face it, it can create a little bit of a stinky kitchen. But there is one fool proof method I’ve discovered that will help you create an easy yet impressive meal for your dinner guests. The secret, en papillote.
Yes, you get to sound all fancy and French with this preparation that simply means to cook in a pouch made of parchment. Steaming fish in parchment is an easy and healthy method that allows the fish to cook in it’s own juices mixed with fragrant herbs, olive oil, white wine, and lemon, creating a moist, tender, and very impressive end result.
Everyone gets their own little parcel of joy and this recipe can easily be multiplied to serve 4, 6, 8, and even 12, if you’re getting adventurous! And the best part? It comes together in less than 30 minutes flat! Rachael Ray would definitely approve!
Step 1: Once all your toppings are laid out, lay out a large piece of parchment paper and top with 3 lemon slices.
Step 2: Lay one piece of fish on top of the lemon
Step 3: Top with your fixings of choice – herbs, green onion, jalapeno, and chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper
Step 4: The fish needs a little moisture to help it steam. Add some olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine
Step 5: Start your wrapping! Bring the ends together and start crimping them on top of each each to create a seal.
Step 6: Really pinch the ends together so that the package is completely sealed. You want a nice tight package to seal in all that flavour. Repeat with as many packages as needed, place on a baking sheet, and voila!
You can even prepare these packages ahead of time and place them in the fridge a couple hours in advance of cooking. And you can customize them any way you like…perfect for even the pickiest dinner party guest.
As you open the parchment, and a puff of steam is released, you will hear the oohs and aahs from your dinner guests as they dig in to their personal dinner package. Serve it straight out of the parchment, or pour it onto a plate with some rice or quinoa to soak up some of that delicious liquid. A fancy shmancy en papillote meal that’s easy enough for the weeknight rush? How can you go wrong!
Tilapia Baked In Parchment
- 2 filets of tilapia
- 1 lemon (cut in slices)
- 1 Pint grape tomatoes (cut in half)
- 4 green onions (chopped)
- 1 handful cilantro (chopped)
- 1 handful dill (chopped)
- 2 Tsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp white wine
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 Sheets parchment paper
This is really more of a method than an actual recipe. You can add any herbs and spices you like - parsley, thinly sliced fennel or zucchini, basil, mint...you name it! Arctic char, halibut, cod, or haddock would all be great in place of the tilapia. Just make sure the pieces aren't too thick, or you may have to cook it a bit longer. You can check for doneness by taking a little peak in the package with the tip of your knife.
||Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lay out 2 sheets of parchment paper. |
||Place three slices of lemon on each of the parchment and top with fish. |
||Season fish with salt and pepper and divide the dill, cilantro, tomatoes, and green onion evenly among the parchment. |
||Drizzle each parchment with half of the wine, olive oil, and lemon juice and fold up edges to a tight package. Place in the oven for 15 minutes and let rest for about 5 minutes before opening. |