By Saira Malhotra | January 27, 2012

Photo: Hellebardius

While we have become accustomed to a perfectly filleted piece of fish with neither bone nor scale, it has come with compromise of ‘flavor’ and quite frankly ‘fun’ too. The skin adds wonderful texture to the fish, which contrasts perfectly against its flaky flesh, while the bones, typically used for fish stock, reinforce its natural flavor during the cooking process. During these cold winter months, whole baked or steamed fish will begin to pop up on menus everywhere.

Today’s dish is inspired by ‘wholesome’, using every part of the fish and a few simple ingredients to maximize flavors. The term ‘en papillote’ is a French cooking technique where the fish is wrapped in a paper pouch. The fish cooks in its own steam in the oven with a few sliced vegetables and a splash of white wine.

When the dish is ready, present it to your guests in the puffed up brown bag and snip it in front of them and then bask in your glory as you watch them savor it through their nose first.

Photo: Robyn Lee

Trout en Papillote Recipe

Inspired by Cook’s Illustrated

2 Whole trouts, head and guts removed
Salt and pepper
2 sprigs of thyme
1/2 Fennel bulb, finely sliced
1 leek, finely sliced, discarding green part
3 tbsp dry white wine
New potatoes, finely sliced and precooked
2 teaspoons of butter


  1. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper that will fold over the 2 trouts separately.
  2. Slice the fish across the top of the bones and open like a butterfly.
  3. Cook the vegetables individually in a pot of rolling boiling salted water, strain well and dry in paper towels.
  4. Season the fish well, inside and out and rub with a drop of oil.
  5. Stuff the two trouts with the fennel, leeks and thyme.
  6. Lay the potatoes on the parchment paper and the stuffed fish on top. Put one knob of butter on both trouts, pour over the white wine and fold the parchment papers over their respective fish. Crimp the openings tightly and bake in the oven until the bags puff up like a balloon.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve.

Photos: Hellebardius and roboppy 

For more winter recipes, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)


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