Sea Bass en Papillote

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Fennel

I really love fresh fish, and the lemon with the fennel and sea bass make this a fantastic and yet really easy supper choice. It’s also a great way to wow your guests at a dinner party, with fairly little work and can be prepared in advance meaning you have all the more opportunity to natter away.

The fennel adds an exciting depth of flavours but can sometimes be slightly undercooked with this method. You still want a slight crunch- but make sure you finely slice the fennel before putting it in as this will allow it to cook fully.

En papillote translates in English to ‘in paper’ and is the method of cooking something wrapped up in paper. Baking parchment or foil work perfectly. Wrapping the food up into a parcel allows it to steam in its own flavours which creates a very delicate but intense flavour whilst gently cooking the meat or fish.

This recipe cooks enough for two people- so amend the ingredients proportionately depending on how many you’re cooking for.


2 small fresh sea bass, or one large sea bass (6-800g)

1 small fennel bulb, finely sliced

2 tbsp small capers, rinsed

1 lemon, finely sliced

A few springs of dill

15g butter

50ml white wine


Firstly turn the oven on to 200C to allow it to warm up.

Lay out a piece of baking parchment just larger and wider than your piece of fish. Underneath this layout a large piece of foil that you will ultimately use to wrap the parcel together. Repeat for how ever many fish you have as they will be going in individual parcels.

Place the fish onto the parchment and season well both on the outside and inside the cavity.

Next open up the cavity and gently lay slices of fennel along the length, followed on top by a few slices of lemon. The neater you make this look, the easier your final presentation will be so no pressure! Next sprinkle some capers inside the cavity before laying the sea bass down.

Dot the top of the sea bass with a few small knobs of butter and a sprig of dill, and then start to wrap up into a parcel. When almost fully wrapped, pour your white wine in.

Make sure the fish is fully sealed before putting on a tray and popping in the oven. Leave in the oven for 10 minutes for a small fish and 15-20 minutes for a larger one.

Et voila- sea bass en papillote…done. Take out of the oven and carefully transfer to a plate. The fish should be perfectly cooked now, so should easily fall away from the bones. I would recommend service this with a little tomato salsa or sauce. I’ve found a beautiful Vietnamese fish sauce which works beautifully with this as the flavours aren’t too overpowering. Recipe to follow shortly!

I usually serve with some sort of roasted new potato simply because they’re always a nice treat- but I’ll leave that to you!


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