Diary of a Foodie

Fish in Papillote

Diary of a Foodie: Season Two: Anatomy of a Meal: Paul Bartolotta

  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:35 min
March 2008
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 (1 1/2-lb) piece white-fleshed fish fillet such as striped bass, haddock, or halibut (about 1 inch thick)
  • 8 thin lemon slices (from 1 large lemon)
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Equipment:

    kitchen string
  • Preheat oven to 400ºF with rack in middle.
  • Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt and sauté until tomatoes are softened, about 1 minute. Stir in capers. Remove from heat.
  • Cut fish into quarters (you are aiming for square-shaped pieces rather than long, thin cross-cut slices). Pat dry and sprinkle both sides with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (total).
  • Arrange 4 (12- to 15-inch) squares of parchment paper on a work surface. Drizzle center of each parchment square with a little olive oil, then top with a fish fillet. Slide lemon slices under fish and top with thyme sprigs. Spoon tomato mixture over fish.
  • Gather parchment up around fish to form a pouch, leaving no openings, and tie tightly with string (make a bow so that you can untie it easily). Put pouches in a large shallow baking pan and bake until fish is just cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes. (Check by unwrapping one pouch.)
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