Red Snapper en papillote


I hope you are having a good start of the week.

I know it seems like I’m always having fish, but a couple of weeks before the holidays I like to eat some delicate dishes… Especially since I know I’ll be indulging in decadent meals and treats in the weeks to come!

I was inspired to make this dish by a recent outing to a chic little cafe in a beautiful store. Moos had the fish en papillote, which literally means cooked in a paper parcel.
I like using this cooking technique because the food is softly cooked in its own steam, and thus retains its moisture.

For this dish I wanted to pair the elegant flavor of tarragon with zesty ginger. I added some sweet butternut squash to balance the dish.

To learn how to prepare this dish

The plated dish (seen above) is served with mashed potatoes and a delicate sauce that enhances the presence of tarragon. This simple recipe is therefore divided into two sections: the fish, and the sauce.

Part 1. The Fish
yields 4 servings

2 filets of red snapper* cut in half
2 tblsp. ginger, freshly grated
2 tblsp. lemon zest**
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp olive oil
1 c. of butternut squash small cubes, steamed
salt and pepper

parchment paper (or aluminum, although I strongly suggest you use the paper)
baking dish with cover

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut four pieces of parchment paper, make sure they are large enough to wrap the fish. Place the fish in the center of the parchment paper, salt and pepper each side of the filet. Divide the ginger, lemon zest, lime juice, and butternut squash equally among the fish filets.  Add one sprig of tarragon to each parcel (I like to place half the sprig at the bottom and half on top of the filet, so the flavor penetrates and infuses the fish). Drizzle 1/2 tsp of olive oil on each, fold the paper and secure it with twine. Place the folded parcels into a baking dish, cover and place in the oven for 20-25 min.

Part 2. The Sauce

1 tsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. white stock/broth
1/4 c. cream
1 sprig of tarragon, minced

small sauce pan
wooden spoon

Heat sauce pan over medium heat, once it is hot enough add the butter.  Sauté shallots until soft and transparent.  Add white wine and reduce until almost half of the wine has evaporated (about 5 minutes). Pour the broth and cream and let simmer until it thickens. Add the tarragon and remove from heat. Let stand covered for at least 4 minutes before serving, we want the tarragon to infuse the sauce.

When plating, I was initially going to remove the fish from the parchment paper (for the purpose of the picture), however I realized I was going to loose all the steam sealed in the pouch, and most importantly, all the liquid released during the cooking process.  Therefore, I strongly suggest you serve the fish in the parchment paper as it contains all the flavorful juices produced during the cooking process. Add the mashed potatoes and sauce directly on the opened paper parcel.


Thanks for reading!

*This recipe also works for Chilean sea bass and tilapia.
**Please avoid the white part of the lemon zest as it is bitter and unpleasant

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s