‘Fish en Papillote’ or simply ‘Fish in a bag’

Last week around midweek I had the inspiration to get a little fancy for dinner without the effort of spending a couple of hours in the kitchen. Plus I was looking for a healthy dish, something that warmed you right up. I had made steamed fish a few times before, but it had been a dull cold day, and I needed a ‘pick me up’ and steamed food was not it. So I decided to add some oomph to my dinner and get a little fancy and cook it the french way.

Plus, the look on A’s face when I dramatically unveiled it and used posh sounding french words for my humble dish, it was mission accomplished.  A stream of compliments followed and me accepting them and insisting it was no effort at all. Which was true but he doesn’t need to know that (wicked smile). Ah! the games married people play!

Coming back to the recipe, I used ‘Basa’ fillets for this dish but any firm white fish would do. My suggestion would be to go with whatever is easily available, though a blue eye cod would taste delish with this recipe. I had some green part of leeks leftover from previous day’s cooking and I decided to use them as well. It gave a delightful earthy tone to the fish. But you don’t have to get it, scallions or spring onions would work just as well. I added some julienned carrots, sliced cherry tomatoes, and lemon slices to it as well to give it flavour and make a whole meal of it. And to give it a bit more flavour i sprinkled some cajun spice on the fish.

The bags are easy to make too, just place the fillet on to a piece of parchment paper on one side. The parchment paper should be big enough to be able to form a parcel. Top it with the vegetables, and then fold the paper into a half moon crescent shape, tucking in the edges so that no steam escapes. They should look like the picture below.

You will need to bake it for 15-25mins depending on the thickness of the fish.

Fish en Papillote

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: “easy”
  • Print


  • 2 basa fillets washed and dried (any firm white fish fillet would do)
  • 1 carrot peeled and julienned
  • 1 bunch of scallions or spring onion chopped including the green stalks
  • 4-6 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4-5 lemon slices
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1-2 tsp cajun spice mix (optional)
  • Handful of torn parsley leaves
  • Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste
  • Parchment paper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper and place it on the parchment paper. Sprinkle the top of the fillet with cajun spice if using.
  3. Divide the vegetables into equal portions and layer them on top of the fish fillet. Start with layering the spring onions first , then the julienned carrots, the sliced cherry tomatoes, and top it sliced lemon and torn parsley leaves. Season with a little salt and pepper but not too much as the fish is already seasoned.
  4. Dot with butter and pour the white wine over it. Bring the edges of the parchment paper to form a crescent shape. Tuck the edges in carefully to seal it so that no steam escapes.
  5. Place the fish parcels on a baking tray and bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. The basa fillets I used took 15 minutes, but a thicker fish would take longer.
  6. To serve place the parchments onto a plate and cut them open. Serve with brown rice, leafy salad, or roast potatoes.

Bon appétit!


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