This customizable fish en papillote recipe, cooked in either parchment paper or aluminum foil, is a quick weeknight meal that is versatile, naturally gluten-free, paleo, and AIP-friendly, and absolutely delicious.
Fish en Papillote: The Easiest Way to Bake Fish
If you’re a busy mom looking for a quick and easy, healthy weeknight dinner that your family will actually eat - this Fish en Papillote recipe is for you.
With only a few common ingredients and room for versatility, this is one of my all-time favorite meals. It is healthy, delicious, versatile and the best part - there are no dishes and very little cleanup.
This fish en papillote recipe is naturally gluten-free, paleo, and AIP-friendly on its own, but you can change the ingredients as needed based on your own custom autoimmune diet if needed.
Whitefish, like the cod used in this recipe, is mild, so it is easy to customize this en papillote packet to fit your own dietary needs by swapping ingredients.
This method truly is one of the easiest and fastest ways to cook fish, even for people who don’t like to cook. I hope that this fish en papillote recipe becomes one of your no-fail, foolproof ways to cook an amazing dinner for you and your family.
En Papillote Cooking Lesson
To prepare this meal we will be using a French cooking method called en papillote. En papillote means ‘in parchment’ or 'in paper' in French.
The en papillote cooking method involves creating a small pouch with parchment paper. The ingredients are placed inside the pouch and then tightly sealed just before baking.
When placed inside the oven, the papillote ingredients will bake while the added liquid will help them steam. This cooking method helps you get perfectly cooked, flaky fish.
With this magical little pouch, there are no dishes, you can even eat the entire meal right from your ‘papillote’ if you please! Just be careful when opening up your packet after baking as the steam can be extremely hot when it is released.
Baked Fish in Foil Packets
The en papillote cooking method traditionally uses parchment paper, but also aluminum foil works to make delicious baked fish in foil.
To prepare your ‘foil en papillote’ package, start with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Be sure to always choose the heavy-duty foil or you will run the risk of tearing your pouch, which will hinder the cooking process and likely create a huge mess.
To start, tear off a fairly large square of foil, approximately 18″. Fold it in half & and crease three of the edges multiple times, leaving just the top open. You want to make sure that your creased edges are tightly sealed so that no liquid can escape. Once your foil packet is ready you can begin to put in your ingredients.
Grilled Fish in Foil Packets
The en papillote cooking method traditionally uses parchment paper baked in the oven, but aluminum foil works as well to make grilled fish in foil, too.
To make grilled fish in foil, follow the same steps below to prepare your foil packet. Instead of preheating the oven, preheat your grill to high heat. Place the foil packet onto the grill rack and cook for a shorter amount of time, try 5 to 7 minutes before checking the internal temperature.
What Other Fish Can You Cook in Foil Packets?
The en papillote cooking method is versatile and works with a wide variety of fish including:
How Long to Cook Fish in Foil Packets?
The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish filet you’re starting with. The internal baked fish temperature should always reach at least 145 degrees F.
Fish en Papillote Featured in The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook
En Papillote is one of my favorite cooking methods, which is why I included a similar version of this recipe in my first cookbook, The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook.
This cookbook has a Paleo focus and includes many AIP diet recipes as well. From The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook:
Cooking fish en papillote (wrapped in parchment paper, or aluminum foil as we do here) is the easiest, most foolproof way to cook it perfectly— every time. Made with mild haddock, this omega-3–containing flaky white fish is loaded with B vitamins and the important minerals selenium, mag- nesium, and niacin.Haddock en Papilotte, featured on page 106 of The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook
Fish en Papillote Featured in The Hashimoto's AIP Cookbook
I also included a version of this recipe in my second cookbook, The Hashimoto’s AIP Cookbook. This cookbook focuses exclusively on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet.
This diet encourages you to eat meals filled with anti-inflammatory foods including organic meat and wild-caught fish, a wide variety of vegetables except nightshades, small quantities of fruit and sweet potatoes, coconut milk, oils made from avocado, olive, or coconut, honey or maple syrup in small quantities, fresh herbs, dairy-free fermented foods such as kombucha and kefir, vinegar, herbal teas, and homemade bone broth.
From The Hashimoto’s AIP Cookbook:
“En papillote is a French term for cooking in parchment. This style of cooking is simple and easily customizable for a variety of seafood dishes. For this recipe, you’ll use parchment paper to create your pouch for cooking. The fish is steamed and poached in the parchment, resulting in a moist and flaky fillet with tender, perfectly cooked vegetables”.Greek Salmon en Papillote, Featured on Page 76 of The Hashimoto's AIP Cookbook
Fish en Papillote
- 2 12x15 inch pieces parchment paper or aluminum foil
- 1 lemon seeds removed, cut into ⅛" slices, divided
- ½ cup loosely packed celery leaves inner tender leaves preferred
- 1½ cups shiitake mushrooms stem removed, cut into ¼ inch strips
- ¼ cup matchstick carrots
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions green and white parts, approximately 2 whole
- 1 garlic cloves thinly sliced (or 1 teaspoon of minced garlic)
- ¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves stems removed
- 2 tablespoons stock or water
- 8 ounces fresh cod filet cut into 2 pieces
- ⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Fold the parchment paper in half so that you have a 7.5x12 inch rectangle when folded cut the parchment into a half oval so that when opened you have a 12x14 inch oval. If using foil just fold in half to have a 7.5x12 inch rectangle.
- Place the 2 packets next to each other on counter and open like a book. Working on the right-side half, approximately 2 inches from the fold, center 2 lemons from top to bottom in each packet.
- Divide the celery leaves and place them on top of the lemons.
- Divide the mushrooms and place them on top of the celery.
- Divide the carrots, scallions, and garlic and place them on top of the mushrooms.
- Divide the parsley leaves and place them on top of the carrots. Then drizzle the stock over the parsley.
- Lay a piece of fish on top of the vegetables and sprinkle each piece with salt.
- Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over each piece of fish.
- Lay 2 lemon slices on the side of each piece of fish so only half of the lemon is on the fish.
- Divide the thyme sprigs and place whole directly on top of fish.
- Fold and seal your en papillote package using the directions below specific for parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Place packets on a baking sheet and place in a 400-degree oven and cook for 12 minutes.
- Remove the packets from the oven and allow them to rest for 2-3 minutes before opening.
- Carefully open, as steam will escape. Make sure the thickest part fish filet has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- When ready, the fish should remain firm but flaky. Enjoy inside your packet transfer to a serving dish.
- En Papillote Folding Instructions:Parchment Paper Packets: fold over the empty half of the packet and make sure all the edges line up together. Starting at the bottom of the packet, next to the center crease, fold approximately a 1-2 inch wide section of the edge towards the inside center of the packet. Making a ½ inch deep fold, starting ¾ of the way to the end of last fold, take another section 1-2 inches and fold towards the center of packet making a half-inch deep fold. Repeat this process around the perimeter of the packet, making sure that all folds are creased well and sealed.
- Aluminum Foil Packets: fold over the empty half of the packet and make sure all the edges line up together. Starting at the bottom of the packet, make one straight horizontal fold about ½ inch deep working upwards. Do this one more time and then repeat this process for the top of the packet working downwards. When the top and bottom are sealed, fold the left edge in one vertical line ½ inch deep back towards the main crease, repeat this 2-3 times, make sure all folds are creased and sealed.