Halibut in Parchment Paper with Tomatoes, Squash, and Basil

Print Friendly

Cooking fish in parchment paper (en papillote) is a great way to steam your fish. The parchment packets lock in flavor and moisture – and they look impressive.  It is an easy and elegant entree to serve guests. I happen to like halibut, but any white, flaky fish will do. And don’t be skeptical – parchment paper, when folded tightly, will seal. It’s important that you make sure the packets are tightly sealed, so as not to let any steam escape. My favorite aspect of this recipe is you can prepare the parchment packets ahead of time. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 cups thinly sliced assorted summer squash (such as zucchini and yellow crookneck)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/4 cup or more thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 6-ounce skinless halibut fillets (or Atlantic cod)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Place four 14″x12″ sheets of parchment paper on a work surface.
  3. Divide squash among parchment sheets, arranging on one side of sheet in thin layers (leave room at the edge for crimping).
  4. Sprinkle shallots and sliced basil over, dividing equally.
  5. Scatter tomato halves around squash.
  6. Drizzle each packet with 1 Tbsp. wine and 1/2 Tbsp. oil.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Place a fish fillet on top of each portion. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle 1/2 Tbsp. oil over each.
  9. Fold parchment over mixture and crimp edges tightly to form a sealed packet. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before continuing.
  10. Place packets in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake fish until just cooked through (a toothpick poked through the parchment will slide through fish easily), about 15 minutes.
  11. Place packets on individual plates and serve. (Carefully open packets as steam will escape).

Note: You can mix and match vegetables and herbs in this dish. For example, you could try asparagus and tarragon instead of squash and basil. Or you could simply use sliced lemons, lemon juice and thyme.

Adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetit.