‘En papillote’ is an old cooking method, used mainly for fish and vegetables. The ingredients are sealed into a parcel, then baked, allowing them to steam during cooking. This is a simple way of getting the pure, natural flavour of fish and vegetables. Adding fresh herbs is always a good idea, as they release beautiful aromas to the dish. You can use almost any fish with this method: sea bass, mackerel, sea bream, salmon or cod. Just note that the thicker the fish fillet, the more time it will need to cook.
I have created this sea bass en papillote dish as a simple, summery dish, ideal for parties and dinners with friends or family. The vegetables can be cooked in advance, so that all you need to do is just add the fish, wrap everything in waxed paper and bake for 10 minutes. For this dish I used courgettes, lime, dill and asparagus, as I wanted a ‘sea bass and greens’ theme. Other vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots or potatoes could also be used, in various combinations. I particularly like a combination of carrots, ginger, courgette, thyme and lemon.
Traditionally, dishes cooked ‘en papillote’ are served as they are, by placing the parcels on the guests’ plates, at the table. It is fun and entertaining, as the guests get to open their own parcels – like unwrapping tasty gifts.