About this recipe:A packet, a parcel, a papillote – an elegant envelope with supper inside! If you've never cooked fish this way, give it a try. Cooking en papillote seals in the food's natural flavour and juices, and the presentation is bound to impress!
140g (5oz) fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 lemon sole or plaice fillets, 115–175g (4–6oz) each
pepper to taste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 medium carrots, cut into matchstick strips
4 spring onions, sliced
125ml (4fl oz) dry white wine or low-sodium chicken stock
2 tsp olive oil
8 thin lemon slices
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:15min › Ready in:30min
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Cut out four 38cm (15in) squares of baking parchment and fold each in half diagonally, forming triangles. Open and coat with cooking spray or a little olive oil.
Divide the spinach and onion among the parchment squares. Cut the fish fillets in half crossways. Top each portion of spinach with 2 fillet halves, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle each with pepper. Top evenly with tomatoes, carrots and spring onions. Drizzle each with 2 tablespoons wine or stock and ½ teaspoon of oil, then add 2 lemon slices and 1 thyme sprig.
Fold the parchment over the filling. Fold the two open sides of each triangle over to seal. Fold over the points at the ends of the creased side, making a five-sided packet. Lightly coat the packets with cooking spray or olive oil and place them on a baking tray.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the packets puff. Transfer to plates and cut open the tops of the packets (be careful of steam). Serve immediately.
Alternatives to plaice:
Try this recipe with megrim. It's another flat fish from the turbot family.
Some more ideas
*Cooking in a packet is so versatile. You can use any kind of fish. Lean, white fish turn out very moist even though they have little natural fat. Oil-rich fish such as salmon are also delicious cooked this way. *Just cook the vegetables en papillote, without the fish, to serve as an accompaniment.
By cooking fish in a sealed parcel, more of the natural juices are retained. When you cook small pieces of lean fish in the oven, they tend to turn out dry and tasteless. *Spinach has a tremendous wealth of disease-fighting carotenoids and phytochemicals that team up with vitamins to help protect against cancer, high cholesterol and vision problems.