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Fish En Papillote

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've got some nice Mahi Mahi fillets that I want to cook "en papillote," a method I've not used before. I've seen this done using parchment paper as well as aluminum foil. Is one material better than the other for this?

Foil would be easier for me as I don't know the technique for wrapping the fish in parchment paper, although it would be nice to learn. Any tips on doing that?

Shel

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post #2 of 14
Hi shel. Aluminum foil will work fine, but it's not as festive.

I love fish cooked this way. It's very clean tasting and refreshing for summer.

The main different for en papillote is that the presentation is obviously much nicer with a higher perceived value than an aluminum foil packet.

This is one dish where fresh herbs are really necessary. Citrus is also very key in my opinion as is good sea salt. You really taste the ingredients.

Folding parchment is really easy:

Start by cutting off a square-ish rectangle of parchment that is bigger than you want in the end by about 2". Fold it in half and cut like a heart on the edge to make an oval that is bigger at the top than at the bottom and unfold it. When unfolded it will make a heart. Fold the heart in half. Lightly butter or oil the interior of the parchment paper.

Place your starch (like potato slices) on the bottom. Season lightly. Place your veggie on top of that and season lightly. Then your seasoned fish goes on top with more fresh herbs and citrus slices. Before adding the citrus, drizzle lightly with olive oil or put a butter pat in it. Top with the citrus then fold the top half of the heart over the bottom of the package.

The key to closing the package is not to fill it too full. Make sure there is plenty of room for the steamed air to circulate in the package and allow it to puff up in the oven.

Start at one side. Fold the matched edge of one end over at about a 45 degree angle for the first fold(only about an inch or less of paper will actually fold). Then walk your fingers over about an inch and take that folded edge and fold it over again at about a 30deg. angle and an additional bit of parchment will fold plus some of the old will refold and you keep doing that all the way around. You will see it forms an edge that looks a little like a uniformly folded pastry edge. When you get to the last fold you should have a little tail left. Fold it one last time and then bend it under and fold it under the package and back up and down again to make sure it's really folded.

Here are a couple of links that show this technique:

Top Cooking Techniques and How-To Videos : Cooking : Food Network

This link shows a close up of the folded edge:

Tips & Techniques - Fine Cooking

Good luck and let me know what you ended up doing and how it went!
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much, BlueZ .... very helpful.

Shel
post #4 of 14
Folding parchment is a technique well worth learning, Shel. You won't use foil after once doing it right with parchment.

There's a tendency to seal the foil too tightly. Plus it doesn't expand from the steam the way parchment does. In my mouth, foil just doesn't produce as fresh and clean a package as does parchment paper.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 14
Parchment is the only "Real way" Foil is ok @ a family BBQ or similar.....

The best way is to use a heart shaped Parchment and upon the last "sealing fold" is to fill the parchment with air, Then Bake. You can brush the top of the paper with evoo or butter for a nice brown presentation.:chef:
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One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

En Papillote Without The Papillote

Maybe this is heresy, but this evening I got an idea for making an "en papillote" dish without using the traditional parchment or aluminum foil pouches. For a quick and easy preparation, just for myself, why not put the ingredients into a small, oven proof pyrex dish and cover the top with foil or a tight fitting lid, and then cooking as normal. How do you think the results might be? Also, I seem to recall some oven proof bags in which food could be cooked. Are there really such bags or is my memory playing tricks on me? Anyway, could such bags work?

Shel (just thinking out loud)
post #7 of 14
The thing to keep in mind, Shel, is that en papillote is merely a steaming technique. So all those other methods of enclosed steaming will work, and should produce a dish so similar as to make no never mind.

With parchment, it's the presentation that makes a difference.

Oven bags are not a trick of your imagination. They're available mostly around Thanksgiving, and directed to the home turkey cook. But yeah, they should work (other than their size).

You could also try those boiling bags that come with some sealers. Pack the food inside, seal, and drop into a pot of boiling water.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 14
Deleted double posting. Sorry.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for confirming my thoughts. Since posting the question I discovered - although not actually seen - that this is a technique put forth in The Joy of Cooking. The boiling bags, while also a nead idea, is morelike sous-vide, and might not give similar results.

I love the "en papillote" technique, but for a quick, last minute dinner the pyrex tray may be the way to go, especially while I'm perfecting the techniques for making the pouches.

As always, thanks for jumping in..

Shel
post #10 of 14
When I lived in Atlanta, a little place we used to go served a mahi filet over jasmine rice, on, of all things, a flowerpot. plated fish on the terra-cotta saucer, flipped the pot over and covered fish/rice with it, and plugged the drain hole with a bundle of fresh herbs. Fish, ok. Presentation, A+.

They also served steak fries in a flowerpot. With malt vinegar. Mmmmmm.....
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I LOVE that idea ... thanks!

Shel
post #12 of 14
Had pompano en papillote years ago at Brennan's in NO. Really merited the word fantastic.

Work on your parchment technique. It's worth the trouble! :bounce:

Right in the middle of that meal at Brennan's, a small stream of water emerged from the ceiling and landed on our table! Not on the food, fortunately. Caused a certain amount of consternation among the staff, and we were hastily relocated.

Turned out it was some kind of problem with some air-conditioning equipment.

Made the meal even more memorable than the pompano.

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just discovered:FATA Paper ...

JB Prince - FATA Paper


Shel
post #14 of 14
Same as a roasting bag, Pueeeee. Use Parchment Paper.:chef:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
Reply
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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