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Lemon White Fish en Papillote
with couscous / fennel and tomato saute

Active: 35 min Total: 35 min
Use any type of white fish for this classic preparation with clean, bright flavors.
Smarts: Cooking fish "en papillote" (in parchment paper) helps it to stay succulent and absorb the flavors of the other ingredients it's cooked with.


Lemon White Fish en Papillote:
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
  • Lemons - 1 , thinly sliced rounds
  • Capers - 1 Tbsp , drained and rinsed
  • Fish, any white fish like tilapia, hake, flounder or halibut - 1 lb
  • Parchment paper - 4 pieces (sub foil)
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Stock, any type - 3/4 cup (sub water)
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Couscous, uncooked - 3/4 cup
Fennel and Tomato Saute:
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
  • Fennel - 1 bulb , sliced
  • Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
  • Tomatoes, diced and preferably fire-roasted (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can


  1. Garlic (for fish and saute) / Fennel - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Make couscous - Combine stock, salt and butter (portion for the couscous) in a saucepan. Cover and bring to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous and cover with lid. Let stand for ~5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  3. Lemons / Capers - Prep as directed.
  4. Fish - Slice fish into desired number of serving sizes. Rinse and pat dry. Season with some salt and pepper.
  5. Prepare fish en papillote - If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating before continuing. Tear out 1 sheet of parchment paper per serving (so for 4 servings, use 4 sheets) or foil, about 18" (45 cm) wide. For parchment paper, stack, fold in half, and then cut into angular heart shapes (diagram below or see video). If you’re using foil, there’s no need to do this. Place each fish fillet onto one half of each piece of parchment or foil. Top fish with butter (portion for fish), garlic (portion for fish), capers and lemon slices. Fold parchment or foil over to enclose fish. Crimp the edge of the foil or fold edges of parchment to seal.
    Place fish en papillote in a single layer on a sheet pan.

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  1. Heat oven to 425F / 218C degrees.
  2. Bake fish en papillote in the oven until it flakes easily with a fork (you can peel one packet open to test), 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness.
  3. While fish bakes, heat a saute pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel with a pinch of salt. Saute until fennel is very tender and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic (portion for saute) and tomatoes (including liquid). Bring to a simmer. Simmer until liquid has reduced, 4 to 5 minutes more. Season with some salt and pepper.
  4. If couscous was made ahead, reheat in the microwave (add a splash of stock or water if it seems dry).
  5. Serve fish in the packets used for cooking (that way you won’t lose any of the delicious lemon butter sauce). Enjoy couscous with fennel and tomato saute spooned over top. Enjoy!



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