En papillote is a French term for "in parchment," which refers to one of my favorite cooking methods, especially for fish. Although it's a total splurge, one of Jon's and my favorite foods to cook at home is fresh halibut. As the one item we almost always order if it's on a menu, we love to try our hand at it at home, too. I've made this pesto-topped rendition twice lately, and Jon said it might be the best thing I've ever cooked. And another friend recently wanted to cook an impressive dinner and I immediately suggested fish in parchment! It's such a fun way to cook without fear you'll over-cook a perfect piece of fish. I know it will be a staple this summer with a glass of rosé and a hunk of bread for soaking up the buttery juice.
Halibut en papillote
2 large pieces of parchment paper
2 pieces of halibut, 6-8 oz each, at room temperature
2 lemon wheel slices
1 shallot, sliced in large pieces that will lay flat
2 T olive oil, divided
½ tsp salt, divided
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 T basil-arugula pesto
2 tsp butter, sitting on top of pesto
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Lay parchment papers on your counter top next to each other. In the center of each piece of parchment, place one lemon wheel and half of the sliced shallot. Then lay halibut on top. Drizzle 1 T olive oil over each piece of halibut. Then sprinkle each with ¼ tsp of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper. Then spread 1 T of pesto over the top of each piece of halibut, and top with a 1 tsp pat of butter.
Fold parchment paper packet together however you wish (I just fold the top down in small folds, and then fold and tuck the sides underneath, or I’ll cheat and fold the sides towards the top and staple it shut), just make sure the packet is sealed and won’t leak. Place parchment packets on a sheet tray.
Roast in center of oven for 12-15 minutes, depending on size of fish (13.5 minutes was perfect for our 7 oz pieces). When they’re finished cooking, use a knife to cut open the packet, and either serve as is or remove from packet to plate it.