Easy French Food and Recipes

Easy Baked Fish - En Papillote

This easy baked fish recipe is perfect for a beginning cook. It employs a special technique that gets a fancy French name, but actually it is really very simple. You wrap up each fish filet along with zucchini slices in aluminum foil and bake it. You can serve it in its wrapper as well. Your family will enjoy unwrapping your creation and even more they'll enjoy eating it!

What does papillote mean?

Papillote has several different meanings in French. In our recipe it refers to a technique where you wrap up whatever you want cooked along with a little liquid, then place it in the oven to steam itself.

But a papillote is also a candy treat, usually a chocolate or a fruit jelly, that is wrapped in pretty paper with the ends twisted. They are popular at Christmas time and sometimes they come with a very small firecracker.

A papillote is also a technique for curling hair, where each tress is tied with a small piece of cloth.

Here we use aluminum foil for our easy baked fish papillote but consider that the French might use:

Parchment paper. They can get quite fancy cutting and folding, creating pyramids, and even boxes!

Plant leaves. Including banana leaves, cabbage leaves and leek stalks.

The most popular fish in France?

Tuna, of course. But salmon, trout, cod, sole, sardines and herrings are also very popular.

Poisson en papillote

Serves 4


  • 4 fish filets, totalling about 1 pound
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of chives
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut four pieces of aluminum foil, about 15 inches long each one.
  3. Wash the zucchini and cut it in thin slices.
  4. Chop the chives finely and put them in a small bowl. Squeeze the lemon, adding the juice to the chives. Mix in the heavy cream.
  5. Place each filet on top of its piece of aluminum foil. Salt and pepper the fish lightly. Place the zucchini on top of the fish, evenly dividing it amongst the four pieces. Pour one tablespoon of the cream mixture on top of each filet.
  6. Wrap up each filet in its aluminum foil. You can roll the top edges to make sure everything is secure, but be careful not to tear the aluminum foil.
  7. Place the four packages in an oven proof dish and place the dish in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes.

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