Traditionally, this elegant chicken or fish dish of French origin is prepared in a paper pouch, constructed of parchment paper. For our purposes, however, and to eliminate the need for any added fats, this recipe can be prepared in non-stick aluminum foil.
This recipe makes one serving, but it’s fancy enough to serve company, and prepared quickly enough for a weeknight family meal. Simply multiply for the number of people you’re feeding.
Chicken or Fish en Papillote
- 1 sheet of non-stick aluminum foil, measuring about 12” long
- 1 5-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast or firm fish fillet (such as Mahi Mahi, Tilapia, Snapper, or even Salmon) – no thicker than about 1/2″
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 sprigs of your favorite herb (choose 1: dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage)
- 2 -3 thin slices of lemon
- 2 Tbs. water
Preheat the oven to 400º F.
With the foil sheet non-stick side up, place the chicken or fish fillet in the center. Season both sides with salt and pepper and any other dry seasoning, if using (see notes). The “pretty” side should be up.
Place the sprigs of herbs on top of the chicken or fish, then lay the lemon slices on top of that, slightly overlapping. Add 4-6 oz. of the appropriate vegetable of your choice, if desired.
Roll up the edges and one end of the foil to form a tightly sealed pouch. Add the water into the open end of the pouch and seal that end up, as well.
Place the pouch on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for several minutes before opening the pouch. Carefully remove the food from the pouch to a plate and drizzle the liquid over the top, to serve.
This is such a versatile way of preparing chicken or fish – change up your seasonings, such as the addition of a sprinkle of garlic powder or the exotic Indian spice mixture, garam masala, and it’s a different dish every time! And cleanup? What cleanup?
You may also use a couple of pinches of dried herbs in place of fresh, as this is a “wet” cooking method.
Are you a traditionalist? Use a sheet of parchment paper instead of foil. You might want to take the extra step of spraying it with a bit of cooking spray.
If your fillets (chicken or fish) are thicker than 1/2″, add 5 minutes to the cooking time.
We had a bumper crop of dill in the garden, this season!