Meal in a Pouch: Cod En Papillote

Gee, doesn’t that sound fancy?

Cod prepared en papillote, served with rice.

I took advantage of the sunshine today and enjoyed a long but brisk walk to Red Hook—destination: Fairway.  After I loaded up on a variety of root vegetables and leafy greens, I headed over to the fish counter to check out what was on sale.  Fresh wild-caught cod filet, $7.99/pound. Sold!

Looks great and smells like the ocean: a perfect piece of fish

I love cod because it’s an easy fish to cook, and the options are endless. It’s mild and flaky, but thick enough to hold up to a variety of cooking methods, my favorite of which is en papillote.

En papillote’s literal translation from French is “in parchment”, though I like to think of it more as “in a pouch”.  The technique is simple: fold a large sheet of parchment or aluminum foil in half, place some veggies on one half to make a shallow bed, and place the fish on top. Add some aromatics and a drizzle of olive oil, then fold the pouch and seal by folding at the edges. Then bake.

Sealed & ready for the oven

That’s it. The whole process from prep time through unwrapping takes under 30 minutes, and what you end up with is a perfectly cooked meal for one.  The fish and vegetables steam inside the pouch, absorbing the flavors of the aromatics and releasing just enough juice to keep all the elements moist, not mushy.  The fish stays moist throughout, and flakes off perfectly with the stroke of your fork.  If it’s overcooked, it’ll just fall apart. The cooking time, 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees, will vary depending upon the fish you choose. Scrod and cod work best, as I’m sure halibut would too (though it tends to be expensive). Flounder and sole can overcook easily, so you’ll want to stick with the lower cooking time with those.

For tonight’s Cod En Papillote, I used a small zucchini for the veggie bed, cutting it into 1/4 inch slices. For the aromatics I used a sliced clove of garlic, some thinly sliced onion, thyme and cilantro. I drizzled a little oil on the bed, then sprinkled salt and pepper on the fish (a 6 oz. piece) before laying it on top. Another quick drizzle of oil and a couple lemon slices, and I was ready to seal. The cod was about 1 1/3 inches thick, and was perfectly cooked after 14 minutes of baking.  (I’ve detailed the process in pictures at the end of this post.)

Forgive the fish for hiding under the lemon. He's a little shy.

Another bonus of making fish this way is that the clean-up is minimal. There are no pots to wash, no scrubbing to do.  So take your time and enjoy your night.

Buon Appetit!

Weight Watchers Points Plus Information:

  • Serving: 1
  • Points per serving: 5
  • If you choose to serve the dish with rice, like I did, another 2 points for a half cup of rice and 1 for a teaspoon of olive oil. Voi-la!

A step-by-step guide to cooking fish en papillote, in pictures:

Start with the veggies and aromatics.

Assemble on the parchment.

Add the fish, after seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add aromatics atop the fish.

Sealed & ready for the oven

Out of the oven. Unwrap carefully.

Ooh la la!

Cod prepared en papillote, served with rice.

2 thoughts on “Meal in a Pouch: Cod En Papillote

  1. Excellent!! Just made this tonight and I’m in love with this new way to cook fish..Okay okay I know it’s not ‘new’, I’ve cooked chicken wrapped in foil before, but not fish. So new to me. Yay! I used tilapia and for the veg green beans. I sprinkled the greens with some red pepper flakes and a drizzle of honey. Everything else was pretty much the same only I used fresh sage instead of cilantro as I figured that would compliment the green beans better. Sooo delicious, the fish was super moist and flaky. You have a new fan! Thanks Jenny 😀

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