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Sea Bass en Papillote

Cooking fish “en papillote”—in parchment paper—is a chef’s trick for keeping fish moist while incorporating layers of flavors. This method is especially popular in the South of France. This sea bass en papillote recipe will take you right back to  La Reserve in Ramatuelle. It also provides a serving presentation full of surprises. As your guests open up the package, they will be delighted by both the approach and the delicious-smelling steam that floats up. That’s even before they taste your sea bass en papillote and all the accompaniments. It’s actually those accompaniments that give flavor to the fish and make your home smell like heaven.

Sea Bass en Papillote Recipe with Ratatouille & Garlic Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings


7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ½ lbs. sea bass, cod, or sole sliced into 4 equal segments
4 large sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs parsley
2 lemons, cut into thin slices
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 thin slices
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Ratatouille Recipe Ingredients

1 eggplant, skinned and cut into 1-inch thick pieces
1 small red onion, chopped small
2 shallots, minced
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch thick pieces
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch thick pieces
14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes, cut in quarters, and juices reserved
1 large zucchini, sliced in half and cut into 1-inch thick quarters
1 large yellow squash, sliced in half and cut into 1-inch thick quarters
2 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Fingerling Potato Recipe Ingredients

1 lb. fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, diced small
1 large leek, white part only, cleaned, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin


For the Sea Bass en Papillote Recipe

Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Cut 4 pieces of parchment that are 14’’ long. Brush 1 side of each piece of parchment paper with oil. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Place the fish on the right half of the paper. Place 2 slices of butter on each piece of fish. Top each portion with 1 sprig of thyme and parsley and divide lemon slices among fish equally. Fold the left side of parchment paper over the right, like wrapping a present, and crimp edges tightly so the package is sealed. Place packages on 2 jelly roll pans and place in the oven for 18 minutes, until packages have puffed up. (For thin slices of sole, only bake fish for 12 to 14 minutes.) Remove from oven and serve fish in packages with ratatouille and potatoes.

For the Ratatouille Recipe

Lay eggplant on a sheet pan lined with paper towels and sprinkle it with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Add onion, shallots, Herbes de Provence, and bay leaf, and cook for 3 minutes. Next, add peppers and cook for an additional 6 minutes, until the ingredients are soft.

Now it’s time to add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, the eggplant and tomatoes go in and cook for 5 minutes. Lastly, the zucchini and squash join the other veggies and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Shut off the heat and add basil, parsley, and lemon. Mix well and serve warm or at room temperature.

For the Fingerling Potatoes Recipe

In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with 2 inches of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain. In a sauté pan on medium heat,  add 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter. When the foam from the butter has subsided, add shallots and leek and cook until soft and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn heat to low, add garlic, and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add potatoes to the pan and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

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