I don’t know about you but whenever I’m looking at recipes to try or ideas for the kitchen, French words tend to really scare me! But the funny thing is once you translate the words or figure out the concept behind them, it’s really quite simple. Coq au vin? Chicken with wine. See? Simple.
This one is similar. It sounds really fancy but it really just means fish cooked in a bag in the oven! It tastes delicious, fresh & lemony & the balsamic vegetables with it are sweet & the perfect foil to the sharp citrus flavour of the lemon.
Here’s what you need (for 3 serves):
3 snapper fillets
3 tsp olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
8 baby carrots
3 roma tomatoes
First of all, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius & pull out two baking trays. Get some baking paper & tear off 3 pieces around 20 cm wide & a larger piece to cover the entirety of one baking tray.
Pop your fish fillets in the centre of each piece of baking paper then slice up your lemon. You want the slices to be nice & thin so the baking paper closes neatly over the top & parcel isn’t too bulky.
Next, drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over each fillet. This doesn’t have to be perfect – they’ll be wrapped up nice & snug in their little baking paper parcels so all the oil & juice from the lemon will stay inside & develop into the most delicious lemony-thyme sauce.
I like to lay two slices of lemon over the fish, overlapping in the middle if the fillet is on the smaller side. If you’re using larger fillets then you’ll probably want to use three slices. Then a sprig of thyme over the top. Thyme is quite a powerful herb so you really only need one sprig to get it’s beautiful aroma & taste into the fish.
Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top of everything else – this stuff is so good for you! Never use any of that table salt type stuff, it’s actually full of things like aluminium to stop it from caking (imagine that, heavy metals with your salt!). Stick to good old fashioned sea salt & you’ll be fine!
Now it’s time to wrap things up (see what I did there?!). Fold the two outside edges in over the top of the fish & then twist the other two sides so the fish fillet is wrapped up nice & tightly like a lolly.
Pop the fish fillets in a pan to soak up all of the delicious juices from the olive oil, lemon & thyme. Now it’s time to work on your veggies. Boil the baby carrots for about five minutes just to soften them then place them on the tray (lined with baking paper) with the tomatoes – you can keep these whole but I like to halve them. Drizzle over olive oil & balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with sea salt & place thyme sprigs all around the veggies!
Put the veggies straight into the oven & set a timer for 20 minutes. Once that’s up put the fish in as well & set another timer for 30 minutes. All up, depending on your oven, you’ll be cooking for 50 minutes to an hour.
Plate up & leave the fish in the parcel when you do so – it looks so neat in there! You can always tip it out & let the lemon sauce mingle with the vegetables if you want – the balsamic will stop them from becoming too tart. There you have it! Fish en papillote with lemon & thyme! A delicious, healthy (paleo if you’re interested) dinner that you don’t need to speak French to know how to cook!