Monkfish en Papillote

Coined the poor man's lobster, monkfish is not a pretty fish, but wins in the delish department, particularly when cooked in parchment paper

Credit: Flickr / rofi

Monkfish is moist and delicious when cooked in parchment paper

Papillote is a method of cooking that has faded from the culinary scene but should be brought back. It involves making an envelope out of parchment paper and baking the fish in the package

The benefits of cooking en papillote are many: The steam within the package keeps the fish moist, and the presentation on the plate is interesting, to say the least.


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 2 stalks celery, julienned
  • 1 cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground Tellicherry pepper
  • Parchment paper cut into 6 (8-inch) circles or hearts
  • 2 pounds fresh monkfish (or halibut, cod or sablefish), in 6 pieces
  • White wine (or vermouth) for sprinkling


  • Heat the butter in a large frying pan.
  • Add the shallots, garlic, carrots and celery; sauté for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 3 minutes, being careful not to overcook the veggies. Cool.
  • Fold a piece of parchment paper in half and butter one half of it well all the way to the edge.
  • Place a portion of the cooled sautéed veggies on the buttered half.
  • Top with a piece of the fish, and sprinkle with a drizzle of white wine or vermouth.
  • Fold the top half over the bottom half and crimp the edges to seal.
  • Repeat with the remaining parchment and ingredients.
  • Bake on a tray in a preheated 400°F oven for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes.
  • To serve, place each parchment package on a dinner plate. Bring to the table and cut the packages open, releasing the fragrant aroma.

Serves six.

Listen to Caren McSherry Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. on CKNW 98.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.