Cooking en papillote may sound fancy because it is in French, but really it just makes for easier, flavorful cooking with little clean up. Try this citrus seafood cooked with herbs.
By Tami Ganeles Weiser
Parchment cookery—cooking en papillote—is part of the French culinary repertory, and although it sounds fancy-pantsy, but nothing could be simpler. Or healthier. It’s steaming your food in a packet full of aromatic herbs and spices.
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons guajillo chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 cup good-quality canned, diced tomatoes, drained, San Marzano preferred
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, and grated, any green centers discarded
- 2 large or 3 medium limes, washed well and cut into ?-inch rounds
- 4 trout fillets, cleaned and boned (see Notes), or 4 small mild, white fish fillets (about 2 pounds total)
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil (or any nut oil you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon chopped pickled jalapeños (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon chopped pickled carrots (or more to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.
- Mix the cumin, chili powder and salt together and set aside.
- Layer 4 (11-by-17-inch) pieces of parchment paper, fold them in half and, starting from the fold and working outward, cut out half an oval; then unfold the parchment to reveal 4 full ovals. Place 1 parchment oval on a work surface and arrange a fourth of the cilantro sprigs on one side, leaving the other half bare. Top with ¼ cup of the tomatoes and about ½ clove grated garlic. Arrange 4 to 5 lime slices on top. Place the trout fillet on top of the lime and sprinkle each with one-fourth of the spice mixture.
- Fold the unfilled half of the parchment over the fish to make a half-oval, and seal the edge by tucking and rolling (or bending) it inward to make a package (like a calzone). Repeat the the remaining parchment and ingredients.
- When all of the parchment packages have been filled and sealed, place them on the prepared baking sheets. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the parchment packages have puffed and browned slightly.
- Cut open the packages, working carefully so that you avoid any escaping steam. Drizzle each with oil and serve immediately with the diced pickled vegetables.
It used to be exotic, but you can buy parchment paper in most supermarkets, either on a roll or in sheets. (If you buy sheets, use the 11- by 17-inch, so you’ll have room to cut the ovals. In a pinch, you can use aluminum foil packets, but some folks’ taste buds aren’t fond of citrus cooked in aluminum foil.