Fragrant packets of fish fillets with capers, dill


November 01, 2006|By Robin Mather Jenkins | Robin Mather Jenkins,Chicago Tribune

Cooking en papillote means baking something -- fish fillets often -- on a bed of aromatic vegetables in a pouch of parchment or foil. The contents of the pouch steam in their juices, their flavors mixing.

We love the romance of en papillote: First, you cut a giant heart from the parchment or foil. Then, when you serve, each diner opens his own personal pouch to get a fragrant poof of steam. Very cool.

Robin Mather Jenkins writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

Halibut With Capers and Dill en Papillote

Serves 4 -- Total time: 25 minutes

Calculate cooking time based on the thickness of the fish fillets. If they're more than 1/2 -inch thick, you'll need to add a few minutes.

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 onion, vertically sliced into very thin wedges

1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks

minced zest from 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon each: minced fresh dill, capers

4 halibut fillets or steaks, about 6 ounces each

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vermouth or dry white wine

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fold 4 large sheets of parchment or foil in half; cut out a big half-heart-shaped piece (like a child making a valentine). Open the pieces; spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine carrot, onion, zucchini, lemon zest, dill and capers in a small bowl; divide the mixture among the 4 pieces of parchment, placing a mound just off the fold on one side of the heart.

Season the halibut with the salt and pepper to taste; lay fillets on vegetable mixtures. Sprinkle each fish piece with 1 teaspoon of the wine.

Fold the parchment over to cover the fish and vegetables. Starting at the top of the heart, crimp the edges, overlapping the folds, until you reach the point. Twist the point tightly; tuck it under the parcel.

Place parcels on a baking sheet; bake until packets are puffed and browned, about 18 minutes. Slide each packet onto a plate; open slightly to release any steam. Let each diner open his own packet.

Per serving: 268 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams carbohydrate, 47 grams protein, 507 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber

Menu suggestion

Halibut with capers and dill en papillote

Fingerling potatoes

Beets-and-greens salad

Berries with creme fraiche

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