You know you’ve done something right when you leave the kids to eat their dinner and when you come back no more than 5 minutes later, the plates are nearly empty. “I really like this fish, can we have it again soon?” , you hear and your heart jumps for joy. “Anytime”, you think to yourself. That’s the great wonder of the little fish en papillote [fish in a paper parcel].
Fish en papillote is great fun to eat, it takes care of itself in the oven in around 20 minutes and it’s brilliantly non-smelly! Perfect school night dinner and a delicious meal for both grown ups and kids.
The dish is naturally self-saucing as it steams in it’s lovely juices, but to me the Frenchness of the dish is only complete with a simple butter, wine and mustard sauce. And don’t worry, you won’t get your kids drunk. The alcohol actually evaporates during cooking so all that’s left is the delicious fruity flavour of wine – safe for the kids and delicious for the grown ups to enjoy.
It was only proper to pop a cork on the French pear cider I picked up at Taste of Sydney a couple of weeks ago, which incidentally coincided with my birthday. Notice how the cider comes in a champagne-style bottle with a popping cork – so French, so chic ! And so yummy!
Lastly, a big thanks to my running buddy Anna W who surprised me with a birthday goodie bag on our Saturday morning run – I have used the cute little bottle as a flower vase in my next picture, you like? I do! It’s still gracing the coffee table.
Fish en papillote
While I used beans and broccolini, feel free to go a bit rogue on this recipe. You can use any firm vegetables you like – try carrot, parsnip, zucchini, potatoes, celery or even truss cherry tomatoes and enoki mushrooms. The same goes for mustard: I used mild American, but French, wholegrain or German will do just as well.
In terms of portion size, I assume 1 halved fillet piece per child and 2 pieces per adult, depending on how hungry you are – one fills me up just fine.
- 2-3 orange roughy fillets // or flake or sea perch
- 300g green beans
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 3 small waxy potatoes
- 1/2 cup Riesling // or other white wine
- 1 heaped tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp mustard
- salt and pepper
- 4 baking paper sheets, slightly longer than wider
Boil potatoes in skins for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and allow to cool. You can do this in the morning while getting ready for work / school.
Preheat oven to 180C (350F, gas mark 4).
In a small saucepan melt the butter, add wine and mustard and whisk until combined. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, slice potatoes, leaving skins on. Trim beans and broccolini leaving just the florets and a little of the stem. Cut fish fillets in half and season with salt and pepper.
Place 2-3 potato slices on each baking paper sheet. Layer with beans and broccoli and pour over 1 tbsp of sauce over each stack. Top with fish fillets and drizzle with the extra sauce. Wrap up the parcels, scrunching up at the top to ensure they are sealed and bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is soft and flaky.
Serve en papillote on a plate for added effect and to entice the kids’ interest in the dish.