Easy. Cleanup. Two words a busy cook loves.
Easy cleanup is exactly why I love cooking fish in parchment packets, or if you have a sexy French accent, you can say “en papillote” which is certainly much cooler. I love French accents. Almost as much as a deep Scottish accent. (Although my husband thinks it’s really weird given his age, I have a major thing for Sean Connery and I totally blame it on his accent.)
But, back to the fish …
Not only does cooking in parchment make for a very easy cleanup, it also makes for perfectly tender fish and vegetables all cooked together in a healthy manner and ready to go in no time. For this packet, I used mild tilapia but halibut would be a great option too. For cooking purposes, a good rule of thumb is 15 minutes for a normal fillet of fish, and 15 minutes per inch if you are using a thick fillet, at 375 degrees.
There are a number of ways to wrap the packets, but I tend to cut a large rectangular piece of parchment (approx. 15 x 24 inches) and
1. lay the paper horizontal, place ingredients in the middle
2. fold the left side to cover the middle, fold the right side to cover the middle (like wrapping a present)
3. hold those sides up so they are evenly matched and then scrunch and roll together
4. lastly, fold the ends up and scrunch together as best you can (it will start to roll apart a bit, but that is okay so long as the basic shape is contained and steam is trapped)
The packets might puff up a bit and become lightly browned, that’s normal. Be careful when you open because the steam can be very hot.
*Never use wax paper – it can burn. Parchment is good up to 400 degrees. I’ve never used foil packets in the oven so I can’t attest to using that, although I have used foil on grills and that worked fine.
- 4 large parchment paper rectangles (about 15 x 24 inches each)
- 4 tilapia fillets
- 3-4 ears fresh corn (about 3 cups), washed and cut from the cob
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil to garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place a tilapia fillet in the middle of each parchment rectangle. Divide the corn and mushrooms among the 4 fillets and place directly on top of the fish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with S/P.
- Close the parchment packets (see instructions above) and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the fillets are cooked through and opaque throughout, 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through.
- Carefully open packets and transfer contents to plates. Garnish with fresh basil or other herbs.