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Halibut Baked in Parchment Paper

Cooking fish in parchment, or en papillote, is an easy and fun method that's not only delicious, but makes for an easy clean up at the end of the meal. Making this for family or friends for the first time? It's always fun to see them cut into their individual bundles to reveal the aromatic steam of fresh fish and vegetables. This recipe allows for almost any variation of fish or vegetables that you have on hand. Feel free to substitute in red snapper, rockfish or salmon — whatever may be in season at the time. For the vegetables, julienned leeks, carrots or squash would substitute well. No matter what you decide to use, a glass of 2015 Agate & Elm Central Coast Chardonnay is sure to pair nicely. Now, let's get cooking!

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 2- to 6-ounce pieces fresh halibut
  • 3 green onions, green and white parts julienned
  • 1/2 red pepper, julienned
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, roughly torn
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parchment paper

Arrange vegetables on the counter mis en place for easy assembly. Preheat oven to 450° F.

Cutting and folding the parchment paper may seem intimidating, but this tutorial will show you that it's really quite simple. You can choose the heart shape design or simply fold a sheet in half and go with a rectangle.

Start by laying your fish in the middle of the parchment paper, right up against the fold. Add your vegetables on and around the fish, topping with olive oil (1 tablespoon on each fillet), parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Place the fish packets in the preheated oven, and set your timer for 10 minutes. If you are using fish that is thicker than 1/2 inch, add 2 minutes to your cooking time. The beauty is that you really cannot overcook the fish, as steaming inside the paper helps retain its juices.

Straight from the oven, the fish packets can be placed on individual plates and served.

Present with additional lemon wedges for spritzing.

Now when you're asked what you made for dinner last night, you can casually say, "Oh nothing big, just a little fish en papillote."