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Bluefish en Papillote

Bluefish En Papillote When Francie and I first got married one of the regular dishes in my repertoire was a simple James Beard dish for Mackerel en Papillote. “En Papillote” means “in paper,” a simple cooking method in which food is wrapped in parchment paper along with various aromatics, herbs and seasonings and cooked in the oven. In the Fat One's recipe a fillet of mackerel was laid out a bit off center in the middle of a circle of parchment paper, seasoned with salt and pepper, topped with a few lemon slices, shmeared with bit of Dijon style mustard, dotted with dollops of sweet cream butter and dusted with chopped parsley. The parchment paper was folded over the fillet and the edges of the paper where folded over a few times to make a seal. The whole thing was to be cooked in a 450° oven for 18 minutes.

But parchment paper is such a pain—not always easy to find and I'll be damned if I could ever get the stuff to fold over well enough to make a seal. On the other hand, aluminum foil is pretty easy to find and crimps, well, it darn well should be called crimping foil as far as I'm concerned. Yes, the parchment paper looks very pretty when served table side. Wonderful stuff for a romantic dinner or fancy restaurant. But foil works fine at home and lets my family have a dinner worthy of the fanciest of restaurants anytime they please.

Bluefish En Papillote

Serves 4 adults as a main course.

Along the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island it's not to hard to come across fresh Bluefish in the market. Bluefish is a popular sporting fish, but not so popular an eating fish. It's meat somewhat dark, kinda oily, and pretty tough if overcooked. In short, it's a lot like mackerel, which is why I use it in this spin on Mr. Beard's recipe. If you can't get very fresh Bluefish or Mackerel, this preparation also works well with mahi–mahi.


1–1/2 pounds fresh Bluefish or Spanish Mackerel
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1 lemon sliced thinly (about 1/8 inch slices)
3 sprigs of fresh tarragon or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 450°.
  • On a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (you never buy any other kind, do you?) drizzle on a tablespoon of the olive oil (or spread on a tablespoon of the butter) and sprinkle on some salt and freshly ground pepper. Lay over this the fish fillet and season the fish with some more salt and pepper
  • The Rotund One says to lay the lemon slices on the fish and cover that with the mustard. That's silly as the lemon slices just slide all over the place as you try to spread the mustard. Spread the mustard on the fish, scatter the herbs all about, and then lay on the lemon slices.
  • Drizzle on the rest of the olive oil or drop on the rest of the butter in a few pinches. pull the foil up on each side to meet over the middle of the fish. fold the edges over together two or three times, enough to seal the foil package but not tight against the fish as though you're wrapping it for the fridge. Crimp the ends of the foil to finish sealing the package.
  • Place the fish package on a rimmed sheet pan (no matter how well you seal the foil juice will flow out somehow, and you don't want that to mess up your oven). Cook the fish for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Posted on Mar 30, 2003 @ 08:47 PM



This looks delish!

Posted on Apr 05, 2003 @ 08:31 AM

Anneka parker:

hi i would like some info on en papillote
i am doing an assignment
on cooking methods and would like some info
ael -y- bryn
heol y nant
sa14 6ae

Posted on Feb 26, 2004 @ 02:27 PM

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