Don’t let en papillote turn you off from this recipe. It simply translates to “in a bag." We are using folded parchment paper in place of a bag. Cooking fish with this method prevents it from drying out and allows the additions of whatever toppings you might like. Besides being a delicious and healthy way to prepare fish, cooking en papillote is an elegant way to serve your dinner guests.
For this recipe, we top the crappie fillets with a simple crab meat stuffing mixture and a pat of butter. If you live on the coast, go catch a few blue crabs and use the freshly picked meat from them. If you aren’t lucky enough to live near a good crab-trapping spot, simply pick up a tub of crab meat at your local seafood shop or grocery.
We used crappie for this batch, but you can substitute bluegill, bass or just about any flaky white fish. You can find parchment paper near the aluminum foil at your local grocery either by the sheet or by the roll.
The most important part of the prep when cooking anything en papillote is to fold the parchment in tiny, very-tight creases to form a tight seal.
Start the recipe by blending the stuffing ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Fold the parchment in half so that you have a roughly 12- x 15-inch double-layer rectangle. Now channel your inner preschooler and use a sharp pair of scissors to cut half a heart shape in the parchment, going all the way to the edges for the sides. Unfold the parchment heart you just made.
Lay 2 to 3 crappie fillets (depending on fillet size, you want one serving per packet) onto the widest part of the parchment heart, just to one side or the other of the center crease. Season the fish lightly with Everglades Seasoning.
Spoon a mounded tablespoon or two of the stuffing onto the fillets. Top with a pat of butter. Fold the opposite half of the parchment over to cover the fish.
To seal, start by folding a small crease at the bottom of the heart. Starting at the upper point of the first fold, make another fold, continue all the way around the edge of the parchment until the packet is completely sealed. The smaller the pleats, the tighter the seal.
Place the parchment packets on a baking sheet and transfer to a preheated 400-degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
Serve the packets still folded and allow your dinner guests to open their own packet at the table.
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