Heirloom Tomato Halibut en Papillote

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This was one of my favorite classes to teach this summer. Fish “en papillote” aka “in paper” is a French technique for steaming fish inside of a packet of parchment paper. My variation yields perfectly cooked fish and tender cooked heirloom tomatoes, all together in one packet. Plus, you can throw in pretty much any tender vegetables you like (zucchini! snap peas! green beans!) and they’ll steam at the same time along with the fish.

I love serving this fish over couscous or my coconut rice. If you’re finding this recipe in the wintertime, swap in quartered cherry tomatoes, the only type of tomato that I find to be relatively tasty all-year-round (though, obviously the best in summer!).

I love using a thick white fish here, such as halibut or swordfish, but you can also use salmon, snapper, or whatever else you love! If it’s thicker than halibut, add a couple minutes of cook time, if it’s thinner, reduce the cook time.

I know you’ll love this impressive looking, DELICIOUS, and super easy fish cooking method. For those of you who hate cooking fish because it stinks up your house, this is a great no-stink method!

Heirloom Tomato Halibut en Papillote

Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp capers  
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (6-ounces) halibut filets 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large lemon, 1/2 thinly sliced into 6 rounds, 1/2 cut into 2 wedges

Substitutions

  • Extra virgin olive oil: butter!
  • Shallot: scallions, or any diced onion.
  • Garlic: so good here! but you can omit if you don’t like or don’t have garlic.
  • Heirloom tomatoes: absolutely any kind of tomato.
  • Capers: olives! When I use olives, I like to use a lot more… like 1/4 cup
  • Halibut: like I said in the headnotes, any fish works!
  • Lemon: you don’t have to do this, but I love the way the lemon essence kind of steams into the fish. You can also use a lime.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  • Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 thinly sliced shallot and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves and cook for an additional minute, until softened. Remove skillet from heat.
  • Stir in 1/4 pound diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon capers, and ¼ teaspoon salt. 
  • Lay two 15-inch square pieces of parchment paper flat on a working surface and lay 3 lemon slices down the center of each. Place two 6-ounce fillets of halibut over the lemon slices and season each piece of fish with with ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper. 
  • Divide the tomato mixture evenly over each fish filet.
  • Gather the parchment paper at the top of each filet and fold it down until you reach the fish. Now fold up each side around the fish and crease tightly so that it holds. It doesn’t have to hold super tightly.
  • Place fish packets onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until the packets are slightly puffed. Snip the parchment open with scissors and serve with lemon wedges.
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp capers  
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (6-ounces) halibut filets 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large lemon, 1/2 thinly sliced into 6 rounds, 1/2 cut into 2 wedges

Substitutions

  • Extra virgin olive oil: butter!
  • Shallot: scallions, or any diced onion.
  • Garlic: so good here! but you can omit if you don’t like or don’t have garlic.
  • Heirloom tomatoes: absolutely any kind of tomato.
  • Capers: olives! When I use olives, I like to use a lot more… like 1/4 cup
  • Halibut: like I said in the headnotes, any fish works!
  • Lemon: you don’t have to do this, but I love the way the lemon essence kind of steams into the fish. You can also use a lime.
Author: caroline chambers

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