Recipe

Fish en papillote

by Jenny Chandler

Parcels of seasonal fish and vegetables

A parcel is a great way to cook fish as it traps all the precious moisture and flavours and getting children to make up their own parcels is a very easy way to get them involved in the kitchen. Try varying the vegetables using carrots, sliced courgettes, mange touts or peas instead of the beans. Be sure to use small slices or matchsticks of vegetables that will cook through in a short time.

Ingredients

4x40cm squares of greaseproof or baking paper
Olive oil for brushing
4 medium size ripe tomatoes
100g fine French beans, mange tout or a few leaves of baby spinach
4x 150g fillets of fish such as skinned haddock, cod, pollock or salmon
2 spring onions, sliced
Leaves from a large sprig of dill, basil or parsley
1 lemon
50g butter, cut into 4

Method

Pre heat the oven to 200C. Fold each paper in half and then open it up again so that you have a crease up the middle. Brush the top of the paper with a little olive oil. Now cut each tomato into about five slices and trim the beans. Divide the slices of tomato between the 4 papers, placing them to the right of the crease. Pile on the beans.

Check your fish for any bones and lay the fillets on top of the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the spring onion and herbs, then squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and pop a bit of butter on the top.

Fold the paper over the fish and, starting at the top, begin folding in about 1cm of the paper just a couple of finger’s width at a time. Keep going in the same direction, each fold will hold the last one in place—it’s a bit like origami! When you get to the bottom of the bag you can twist the paper over in a little tail to fix it. Just use foil if this sounds like too much of a faff.

When you are almost ready to eat, put your parcels in the oven on a baking tray and cook for 15 mins. They will puff up with steam. Remove from the oven and slide the parcels carefully onto a serving dish or plates and serve at once.

It’s fun to slash open the parcels at the table for a bit of drama—you can use scissors or go carefully with a knife (take care with the searing hot steam).

ALTERNATIVE: Use skinned fillets of flat fish such as plaice or sole. Sandwich them together using 1 tsp of pesto or tapenade as a glue.