Sea Bream Recipe en Papillote (2024)

Whenever I read anything about dinner parties, as in advice for planning, preparing and hosting one, there always seems to be an emphasis on keeping everything stress-free, easy and smooth. Which is sound advice. After all, you don’t want to be still juggling with sodium alginate, making spherical pops of carrot and ginger caviar as your guests walk through the door. You don’t want to be suddenly tackling ten feet high flames, just because you thought that a demonstration of your flambé skills would be impressive. And you definitely don’t want people to come wandering into the kitchen, because you went missing for a period of 45 minutes; only for them to find you weeping gently on the floor, with a tray of shrunken, flaccid soufflés sat in your lap.

Yes, if there ever was an acronym to use when it comes to hosting dinner parties, it would have to be K.I.S.S. Or ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid'.

However, saying that, given the pressure those two magic words seem to conjure up in people’s minds, I think a better course of action is to simply make things fun and focus purely on having a good time. A wise man once gave me this gem to dining success at a wine and food pairing event, which went along the lines of: “This is all nonsense this pairing business. Whenever friends or family invite you over for a meal, do you ever think for a second about what food is going to be served, and what wine to take with you? Have you ever called ahead to find out what is on the menu? No, normally you just pick a bottle from the off-licence, rock up, unplug the cork, enjoy the food and enjoy the company.”

I really liked that message and I think all dinner parties should be based upon that very sentiment. As a host and cook, if you can enjoy yourself, your guests will enjoy themselves and then everything will be OK. If things go wrong, they go wrong, it won’t be the end of the world. Even if you are hosting a fairly formal dinner party, where bosses attend or there is a bit of match-making going on, at least you’ll be giving them something to talk about on the way home. But who has those sort of dinner parties anyway? They only exist in Richard Curtis films.

So whenever I hold a dinner party, I always try to go for the K.I.S.S approach, to help steady the ship and then add in an element of devil may care afterwards. In fact, if I were to hold one soon, the menu would look a little bit like this:


Essex asparagus with brown shrimp and burnt butter


Sea Bream en papillote, with new potatoes, spring vegetables and sorrel


Elderflower panna cotta with gooseberry compote

Now, I know what you are thinking - “Hmm, nice looking menu Dan, all light and seasonal…..but where is the danger? Where is this sense of fun coming from?”

Well, the secret would be to buy in some cheap old plates, for serving up the main event of fish baked in paper. Not only is this classic technique fuss-free and straightforward, you can present all the food still contained within the baking parchment if you like. Saying that, the technique of wrapping in paper and folding over can be tricky, so to make sure that there is no leakage, it is not a bad idea to use a layer of foil too.

Anyway, after polishing off the fillets of tender bream and veg, all doused in a buttery wine sauce; once left with crumpled foil and paper on their crockery, your guests are more than likely to comment on your smug efficiency with saving on the washing up.

“OK, what do you want us to do with your clean plates then?” they might just say.

And with that, you pick your plate up, toss it into the corner of the room and as it shatters, pronounce that you are not doing any washing up, and see if the others follow. If they do, hey, you’ve already set up one hell of a memorable dinner party right there haven’t you.

One thing we shouldn’t forget of course, is to factor in a sensible budget when planning a menu. The one above, which is largely pescetarian and vegetarian, should come in at £10 a head. For a more thorough breakdown though and after looking at recent prices in the supermarkets, the costs for each course would be as follows:

Starter - £19.91

Mains - £44.49

Dessert - £10.53

That actually comes to £74.93 or £9.37 a head, which leaves more than enough for buying in some wine. And a generous host always supplies the booze. Not that you should discourage people bringing gifts, oh no. But still, say that we go for a decent bottle per person; with perhaps a cheeky offering of something fizzy to kick things off, I’ve figured out that the final bill would come in at around the £200 mark.

With perhaps a little bit more for the plates.

Sea Bream Recipe en Papillote (2024)


What is the best fish for en papillote? ›

Any firm-bodied, flaky fish works beautifully. For this recipe, I used cod, as it is widely available and affordable (it's also delicious in this Grilled Cod recipe). Salmon, flounder, trout, and halibut are also wonderful fish to bake in paper.

What is the basic procedure for preparing en papillote? ›

In the culinary arts, the term en papillote refers to a moist-heat cooking method where the food is enclosed in a packet of parchment paper or foil and then cooked in the oven. Delicate foods such as chicken breast or fish may be cooked en papillote as they can be quickly cooked by this steaming method.

What is better sea bass or sea bream? ›

Sea Bream Vs Sea Bass

They both reach similar weight however the Sea Bream is longer and slimmer compared the plumper Sea Bass. Despite the differences, Sea Bream has more meaty flesh then the Sea Bass so normally opt for that but they both work well with most recipes.

Which type of dish most often uses cooking en papillote? ›

En papillote (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ papijɔt]; French for "enveloped in paper"), or al cartoccio in Italian, is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. This method is most often used to cook fish or vegetables, but lamb and poultry can also be cooked en papillote.

Is it better to bake fish on parchment paper? ›

Baking fish in parchment paper or tin foil—known in France and gourmet cooking circles as en papillote—steams the fish with a minimum of fuss and equipment. Delicate fish—sole (as pictured) and other thin white fish—is particularly delicious cooked in parchment packets since it cooks gently and stays moist.

What is the best tasting fish to bake? ›

Baked Fish Tips

For this fish recipe, your best bet is to use a flaky whitefish, such as tilapia, halibut, cod, bass, grouper, haddock, catfish or snapper. Whitefish doesn't mean that the fish is white in color; rather, it is a mild-flavored fish that cooks quickly and takes well to a variety of seasonings.

What are the disadvantages of en papillote? ›

Disadvantages: Cannot be used for barbecuing, difficult to handle. For even more original twists, you can opt to plant containers: blanched cabbage leaves, vine leaves, banana leaves or a fig tree, give free rein to your imagination! You can also choose pastry sheets or filo pasty to give a crispy side to your dish.

What paper is best for en papillote? ›

Parchment paper without a wax coating is the best option for cooking en papillote. You can technically use aluminum foil to create a steamy baking environment too, but that's dabbling in foil pack territory, technically.

How do you seal fish en papillote? ›

Top with a few pats of shallot butter, slices of lemon, and sprigs of fresh herbs. If using a butterflied fish, place herbs inside of fish cavity. Finally, drizzle with olive oil and a splash of white wine. Fold over other half of parchment, then fold and pinch along edges to seal.

What is the best tasting sea bream? ›

Gilt head bream is the best tasting fish of the whole bream family. Commonly eaten in and around the Mediterranean, bream has a sweet and delicate flavour with a very fine flake – it goes well with classic parsley and lemon flavours, in addition to sweet roasted cherry tomatoes and basil.

Is sea bream expensive? ›

Although growing in popularity, sea bream remains comparatively inexpensive and is, therefore, a great fish to experiment with. Its delicate flavour goes well with fennel, sorrel, lemon juice, thyme, parsley, tarragon, English mustard, olives, asparagus, tomatoes, almonds and garden peas.

What fish is closest to sea bream? ›

Fresh Sea Bream

Sea Bream is a fish of many names, also known in the UK as Gilt Head Bream and in Spain as Dorada. Sea Bream has white flesh and a delicate flavour which is very similar to Sea Bass.

Can I use foil for en papillote? ›

From fish and seafood to chicken and vegetables, cooking en papillote (the French term for cooking in a pouch) is a healthy and versatile method. The process is simple, and if you don't have parchment paper, you can use aluminum foil.

Can you use foil instead of parchment paper for en papillote? ›

Aluminium foil

Because foil is reflective, it will cook things a little quicker, too, so check your bakes a few minutes before you normally would to see if they're done. Aluminium foil is also great for cooking en papillote, and in many ways it's actually simpler than using paper.

What are the benefits of cooking en papillote? ›

The Benefits

It's quick: When the parchment pouch is tightly sealed, ingredients cook quickly because of the intense steam that is created inside. Food doesn't dry out: Everything stays moist inside the parchment pouch. Any juices released by the ingredients in the parchment stay within the pouch—cleanup is easy.

What is the best freshwater fish for baking? ›

Rainbow Trout

Its popularity stems from its versatility in cooking methods, including grilling, baking, and pan-searing, allowing for a wide range of culinary creations.

What fish is best used for fish and chips? ›

Use the freshest fish—When making this classic version, be sure to use the freshest cod, pollock, or haddock that you can find for the best results. Frozen fish is also fine, but make sure it is thoroughly defrosted and dried with paper towels first.

What is the most popular fish for fish fry? ›

Cod is the most popular and first choice that comes to mind for many people when preparing a fish fry. Cod is mild and tender, and the right breading makes for the perfect complement to tartar sauce. Cod is the best option if you like to fish with a bit of crunch.

What kind of fish does Gordon Ramsay use in his fish and chips? ›

Crispy Cod.

Explore all of our delicious favorites, from cod with a perfect golden crisp to dirty chips with truffle and parmesan. Be warned, extreme hunger and cravings may ensue.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6341

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-03-23

Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

Phone: +13408645881558

Job: Global Representative

Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.