On Good Friday, Make Parchment Paper Fish

The next time you host a dinner party, why not make a simple and elegant fish en papillote? It's easy to assemble the fish and vegetable packets ahead of time, and while guests are nibbling appetizers, you can pop them in the oven. It's virtually a no-hassle meal that's healthy, and if using seasonal vegetables like asparagus, affordable. It's also fun for everyone to open their own packet at the table. The best thing, however, is the cleanup. All you have to do is toss the parchment paper in the garbage and the dishes in the dishwasher. Seriously, you'll feel like the dinner party threw itself! Want the recipe? Read on.

Tilapia and Vegetable Packets

Tilapia and Vegetable Packets


  1. 4 cups baby spinach
  2. 4 tilapia fillets (6 to 7 oz each)
  3. 8 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 8 oz thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into lengths about 2 in. long
  5. 4 tsp each capers and minced shallots
  6. 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp pepper
  9. 8 to 12 thin slices lemon


  1. Place oven rack in center of oven. Heat oven to 425ºF. You’ll need a rimmed baking pan and 4 pieces of parchment paper or nonstick foil (each about 16 in. long).
  2. To make each packet: Place 1 cup spinach in center of parchment. Top with a tilapia fillet. Brush fish with 1 tsp of the olive oil. Scatter 1/2 cup of the asparagus on and around fish. Scatter 1 tsp each of the shallots and capers, and 1/2 tsp of the thyme over top. Drizzle with another tsp of the oil; sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp of the salt and 1/8 tsp of the pepper. Top fish with 2 or 3 slices of the lemon.
  3. Bring long ends of paper together and fold down 3 times to make a seam. Place on baking pan and tuck ends underneath. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 packets.
  4. Bake 15 minutes until packets are puffed. Open 1 packet to test doneness. If fish isn’t opaque at center, reseal packet and return to oven. Check again after 5 minutes.

Serves 4.

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