Fish Fillets

“With vegetable ribbons en papillote,” Béatrice Peltre follows up her title. My husband and I celebrated our two-year marker on Friday evening; two years since we began our relationship, which has culminated in a very happy marriage so far (seven months to the day on Saturday!). We decided to break open the bottle of crisp Sauvignon Blanc we had purchased in Paris on our honeymoon, and I thought this French fish would pair with that excellently.

It did.

And perhaps that’s enough said, as I made the recipe almost to the letter. I like to follow recipes pretty closely the first go round.

I will admit to skipping the parsley and cilantro, as I was completely out and certainly not heading over to the grocery store yet again this week. I’m sure it would have totally made the dish, though, so I strongly encourage keeping it in, if you can. I also used skinless cod, instead of the red trout with skin on, as recommended.

Cooking en papillote makes for such an elegant, fun presentation; it is very much like presenting each person with a little gift they get to open. In this case, Joshua and I both cut ours open with kitchen shears (certainly not the most elegant way to do it, but no one’s watching), and watched the steam float away in gentle clouds of delectable aroma.

Make this.

And buy the book: La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life by Béatrice Peltre.


Serves 4

1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise (I used a vegetable peeler)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced lengthwise (I used a vegetable peeler)
1 leek, top and bottom parts trimmed off, thinly sliced lengthwise (I don’t know HOW you’re supposed to slice a leek lengthwise, so I chose to do it crosswise in rounds, as per usual)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (I didn’t have any)
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley (I didn’t have any)
Salt and pepper
2 lemons
4 white fish fillets, about 6 oz each
Olive oil, to brush and drizzle

Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Have four 14-inch pieces of parchment paper handy.
In a large bowl, gently toss the zucchini, carrot, leek, fennel, ginger, garlic, cilantro, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Grate the zest of 1 lemon and juice it. Slice the other lemon into thin rounds.
Using paper towels, pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper.
Place one piece of parchment paper on a working surface in front of you. Brush the center with oil. Make a bed of vegetables in the middle and add a fish fillet with the skin facing up (if yours has skin). Sprinkle with some lemon zest and drizzle with lemon juice. Finish with another layer of vegetables and drizzle with olive oil. Top with 2 slices of lemon. Lift the edges of the paper to meet at the top and fold down a few times to create a package; fold in the other ends and staple twice to hold. There should be enough space between the ingredients and the edge of the paper for the pouches to puff slightly.
Set on a rimmed baking sheet, and repeat to create the other 3 papillotes. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until fish is firm to the touch (mine took about 25 minutes, but I had thick fillets). Serve as is, on a plate.

Joshua says: 10 out of 10. He loved how the fish and vegetables self-basted and made a delicious, lemony sauce pooling in each packet. The fish, he declared, was the perfect texture – quite the feat. He’s a bit picky about his fish.


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