From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.
Photo by stu_spivack Sealing the package traps in the moisture to steam the food inside.
This week, we're sharing a recipe for fish en papillote .
French for "in parchment," en papillote is a method of cooking food inside a folded pouch or parcel, typically made of parchment paper, but sometimes with aluminum foil or paper bags. The food is placed inside, often with a bit of wine, water, or stock, and the parchment is overlapped and folded until it is sealed tightly. As the parcel bakes, the trapped moisture heats and forms steam inside the packet, evenly cooking the food without losing any flavor.
While en papillote is a French term that dates back to the 17th century, the method of steaming food inside pouches has been used around the world for much longer. Banana and cassava leaves are used in Malaysia and Indonesia, cornhusks and plantains in Latin America, and water lotus leaves in China. In Italy, parchment is also used, but it is referred to as al cartoccio.
The method is typically used to cook fish, vegetables, and thin cuts of poultry. Herbs and spices are added so that when the pouch is opened at the table, the experience is fully aromatic.