Sole en Papillote

Sole en Papillote

Food cooked en papillote describes a dish that has been encased in parchment paper and then baked. Moisture within the packet is prevented from escaping, and the resulting steam gently cooks delicate ingredients, such as the sole here, without browning. As it bakes, the fish is infused with the fennel, lemon and herbs included in the parchment.  Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends, by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm (Oxmoor House, 2008).


    • 8 sole fillets, each 6 ounces, skin removed
    • Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
    • 12 thin fennel slices, plus 4 tablespoons roughly chopped fennel fronds
    • 16 thin lemon slices
    • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
    • 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds


Preheat an oven to 450°F.

Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, each 12 by 15 inches. Bring the short sides of 1 sheet together, folding the sheet in half, and crease. Unfold the sheet and put a sole fillet to one side of the crease. Season with salt and pepper. Top with 3 fennel slices, 2 lemon slices, and 1 thyme sprig and 1 parsley sprig. Lay another fillet on top. Season again with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 1/2 tsp. of the olive oil. Top with 2 more lemon slices, 1/4 tsp. of the fennel seeds, and 1 Tbs. of the fennel fronds. Bring the uncovered side of the parchment over the fish and, starting at one end of the crease, fold the edges of the parchment paper together in small overlapping triangles until the package is completely sealed. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more packages.

Place pouches on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden, about 10 minutes. To serve, place each pouch on a dinner plate and let diners open their own servings.

Serves 4.