Recipe: Simple and irresistible tilapia en papillote

Jules's picture

by Julie Snyder

Tilapia en papilloteCreate a deceptively quick and easy, moist, succulent dinner that will leave people thinking you spent hours in the kitchen. Here's how!

"En papillote" means cooking in a pouch, typically made from parchment paper, but you can use foil instead.

The food inside steams in its own juices and the wine or juice you added.

The method enhances any spices and aromatics -- like thyme, garlic or lemon and builds flavor in an otherwise mild meat, such as tilapia.

The end result is a moist, delicious light meal that is bound to please!

Tilapia en papillote

Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes | Yield: 4 servings


• 4 tilapia fillets
• 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
• 1/2 lemon, juiced
• 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
• 2 tablespoons white wine
• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
• 4 thyme sprigs
• salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Cut four oval shaped pieces of parchment paper, fold in half and crease. Open a piece of parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter it.

Place a salted and peppered tilapia fillet on one half. Cover it with the lemon and garlic slices, the thyme sprigs and a handful of cherry tomatoes.

Crimp the edges of the bottom half of the parchment paper. Drizzle a teaspoon each of lemon juice and wine over the fillet. Fold the top side of the paper over and securely crimp the edges, "sealing" the tilapia into its own paper packet.

Repeat for each fillet. Place the packets on a baking sheet and surround with any remaining garlic slices and cherry tomatoes. Bake approximately 20 minutes.

To serve, put a wrapped packet on each plate. Allow your guests to open the parchment and enjoy both the delicious aroma and the

Cook's Note

Would you like to experiment with other flavors? Switch out or add one or more of these to your packets before crimping:

✓ Kalamata olives
✓ Summer squash, thinly sliced
✓ A handful of fresh baby spinach leaves
✓ Leeks, thinly sliced
✓ Asparagus tops
✓ Substitute basil, mint, oregano or tarragon for the thyme

Have you tried "en papillote?" What are your favorite seasonings?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.