Red Snapper en Papillote
I love eating seafood. It’s so light, healthy and fresh. I also like how fast it is to prepare. You can rely on seafood on those evenings when you’re looking for something quick and satisfying. Don’t be intimidated by preparing a whole fish; it’s actually a cinch.
“En papillote” is French for “in parchment.” I love using this method for fish. Fuss free, beautiful presentation, divine flavors. It’s a winner on all counts. As the food bakes in the oven, all the flavors are trapped inside the parchment, perfuming the whole dish and creates steam, which cooks each component perfectly.
You have a whole meal in one packet – protein, starch and vegetables and once it cooks, you can just discard the parchment and don’t have any dishes to wash either. How awesome is that?
Seafood pairs so well with aromatics like parsley, onions, garlic, lemon and white wine. Snapper is a mild fish that is one of my favorites. I love the addition of tomatoes here too. You can add so many other things to the dish – artichokes, snow peas, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, oranges, and any herbs.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Rinse the couscous in water, until the water runs clear. Sprinkle with salt. Place parchment paper over a rimmed baking sheet (half sheet sized), so that the parchment paper completely covers the baking sheet. Place the fish diagonally across the baking sheet. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides and on the inside cavity. Place the couscous all around the fish. Place the bunch of parsley on the inside on the fish. Place the lemon slices, one of the garlic cloves and onion slices on the inside cavity of the fish and also on top of the fish.
Mix the tomatoes with the minced parsley and the other minced garlic clove. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the couscous (with the artichokes, if you’re using them.) Cut the butter into small pieces and put it on top of the fish. Pour the wine over the fish and couscous. Place another piece of parchment over the fish. Fold the edges together and staple the two pieces of parchment together.
Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully open the parchment paper, watching out for steam.
Wow! The aroma that wafts from this meal is incredible. The fish is perfectly moist and SO flavorful!
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 whole red snapper, cleaned, (1½ -2 lbs)
- salt and pepper
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley, plus 1 teaspoon minced
- 1 whole lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped or 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup drained and quartered artichoke hearts, optional
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Rinse the couscous in water, until the water runs clear. Sprinkle with salt.
- Place parchment paper over a rimmed baking sheet (half sheet sized), so that the parchment paper completely covers the baking sheet.
- Place the fish diagonally across the baking sheet. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides and on the inside.
- Place the bunch of parsley on the inside on the fish. Place the lemon slices, one of the garlic cloves and onion slices on the inside cavity of the fish and also on top of the fish.
- Mix the tomatoes with the minced parsley and the other minced garlic clove.
- Place the couscous all around the fish.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes over the couscous (with the artichokes, if you're using them.)
- Cut the butter into small pieces and put it on top of the fish.
- Pour the wine over the fish and couscous.
- Place another piece of parchment over the fish. Fold the edges together and staple the two pieces of parchment together.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully open the parchment paper, watching out for steam.
You’ve done it again, Olga, presented yet another meal that no one will be able to resist… I can almost smell it!
But I am not a huge fan of wine, will the fish miss it? Or can I substitute it for something else?
If you don’t want to use white wine, you can substitute vegetable broth instead.
Oh this looks so good. Have never made couscous so looking forward trying something new! Thank you!
Olga, can I use different kind of fish like salmon? Thanks
Oh and I have never tried “couscous” does it taste like rice?! Thanks so much. I tried you crock pot recipe last night and it was sooo good!
You can use just about any fish for this recipe. Couscous is not a grain, it’a a type of pasta, so it doesn’t taste like rice. We really like it.
This looks so good. I love couscous. I was raised in Israel and we eat couscous in my house all the time. Couscous is actually made out of semolina ( from manka) which makes it even healthier than rice.
That’s awesome, Natasha! I love couscous too and make it quite often. It’s so versatile, since you can flavor it in so many different ways. A lot of people mistake it for a grain, (like rice, etc). Probably since it looks like it. Anyway, it cooks so quickly and tastes amazing. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy it too.
What a great surprise for my hubby, I made this dish for his b-day!! We loved it! We are big fish fans:)But I will also add that 1 whole lemon was way to much lemon for our taste, it overpowered the flavor of everyhting else. Next time around ill be using only half a lemon. Thanx Olga for a great recipe.
That’s great, Lana! I’m glad you enjoyed it. We love fish too.
Hi Olga. I made this tonight. The presentation and smell was fabulous! We love fish and couscous as well and make it often. I agree with the previous that one whole lemon was too much. Our cousous which actually ended up really drying out on the bottom (I wonder why? maybe lack of liquid?) also tasted extremely bitter which I assume was from the lemons. Snapper is a beautifull fish and I loved the delicate meat of it, but there was so lttle meat left aftre the head, tail and bones/skin was taken off while eating.. it was too bad. Truly a recipe only for 2 people, bummer 🙁
Maybe your fish wasn’t as juicy as mine was. You can certainly add more liquid next time. I also sometimes add just the juice, without the lemon peel, since that is what gives the bitter taste.
How big was the fish that you used? I did specify that the servings were 2-4, and of course, everybody has different appetites:).
Hey Olga I have a question do I make the couscous just like pasta and rice or do I just rinse the couscous and put it around the fish not cooked? If I put it not cooked around the fish won’t it be dry?
Follow the instructions exactly how I have it written out, Natalie. The couscous will not be dry because as the fish cooks, it will exude a lot of liquid. Since it’s cooked inside the parchment, all the moisture is trapped inside. You are also adding white wine and butter, which give it more moisture. The onions and tomatoes will also add a small amount of moisture. Try to pile the couscous all together like I have. The only reason the couscous might be dry is if it’s spread too thin and doesn’t soak in all the moisture from the fish.