Easy weeknight dinner: Sole en Papillotte (fish in parchment paper)


This recipe was inspired by my recent trip to Lisbon. If you’ve ever been, you know how much they love seafood. But, that doesn’t mean this recipe is complicated or uses fancy techniques at all. Just because I added a little French in the title doesn’t mean the average home cook can’t make it. In fact, you will probably find this technique so easy that it will become you go to low-fat way to cook fish.

The goal of this recipe is to make it another “Wednesday night meal” that can be put together from start to finish in under an hour. I served this with smashed potatoes, but you can roast some asparagus, zucchini or other veggie to cut down on carbs, and on time.

In this preparation, you fold up fish in parchment paper with a few other ingredients. Baked in the oven in less than 10 minutes, you open this parcel of aromatic Mediterranean breezes- olives, red bell pepper, cilantro fragrant the air. It is the epitome of Mediterranean diet cuisine, without being too diet-y. There is only a little olive oil added, but it’s a naturally low-fat dish because the fish cooks as it steams in the parchment paper. It really doesn’t get healthier than this. I balance out the health with a few oven-fried potatoes to make it a filling dinner. 

For 2


  • 1 lb. sole, red snapper, or other white fish fillets (about 5), bones and skin removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half moons
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro or parsley
  • ¼ cup olives, mixed
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Tear off parchment paper for how many fish filets you have. Each fish will get his or her own packet.
  2. Season the fish filet with olive oil and salt. A little pepper if you’re feeling it.
  3. Place one filet on a half sheet of parchment. Then, layer the other ingredients on top, dividing them equally among all the fish filets. Arrange them in an attractive manner so when your guests open them, they look nice. (For more pictures on this, go to Red Snapper en papillote)
  4. Fold up the paper crimping the sides and turning it as you go. The goal is to make it sealed as best you can so juice stays in the packet. Arrange the packets on a baking tray. Then, place in the oven.
  5. Cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. Sacrifice one and open it so see if its cooked. If not, put back in the oven for just another 1-2 minutes. It will continue cooking once it comes out the oven. Better to undercook a little and put back in the oven if needed.
  6. Serve immediately. Pair with smashed potatoes and a salad to make a nice dinner.

For more Wednesday night meals:

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