Baking vegetables and cod in parchment paper, known as cod en papillote in French, is the best way to get perfectly tender fish and veggies. This delicious recipe features cod, asparagus, zucchini, lemon, fresh dill, and a homemade shallot butter. It’s a simple and light dinner.
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The more time we spend at home, the more opportunity I’ve had to experiment with cooking techniques that I’ve always wanted to try. Cooking fish in parchment packets (“en papillote”) was on my list of methods that intrigued but intimidated me.
I sort of forgot about fish en papillote until my mom told me that she recently tried and loved it! Inspired by her experience, I set out to try my hand at this delicious technique. And boy am I glad I did!
This cod en papillote recipe is unbelievably easy, quick, and healthy. It takes just 30 minutes start to finish AND there’s barely any clean-up.
I always struggle with preparing perfectly tender fish, like they do at restaurants, but not anymore. Parchment packets create the ideal cooking environment. They keep the heat in so that everything cooks evenly and quickly. It’s a game changer.
Not only is this method great for fish, but it also yields amazing vegetables! In fact, if you wanted perfectly steamed veggies for a quick side dish, you could forego the fish and just stick with the asparagus, zucchini, and seasonings. I see many more parchment paper recipes in my future!
How to Make Cod En Papillote
- Make the shallot butter by mashing together softened butter, herbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Cut two long sheets of parchment paper, each about 18″ long. Stack half of the veggies on one half of a sheet of paper.
- Place the cod on top, followed by a few pats of the shallot butter.
- Top with fresh lemon slices and sprigs of dill.
- Fold the other half of the parchment paper over the fish and veggies.
- Roll up the edges of the paper until you form a packet. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, and place the 2 packets on a baking sheet to be transferred to the oven.
Expert Tips and FAQ
- For the veggies to cook evenly and in the same amount of time as the fish, they need to be thin and relatively soft. I used asparagus and zucchini for this recipe, which worked great, but harder veggies like beets or carrots would likely need more cooking time. I’d recommend sticking to the ones I used or subbing in cherry tomatoes, sliced onions, and/or green beans.
- Feel free to mix up the seasonings and use fresh parsley, thyme, or other herbs. If you don’t want as much of a lemon taste, forego adding the lemon slices on top of the fish.
- Keep the cooking time short. I used pretty thin cod fillets and found that they only needed 16 minutes in the oven. A good rule of thumb is to cook cod for 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
- Cod en papillote can be served on its own or with rice, potato salad (like my Vegan Potato Salad), or another source of complex carbohydrates.
- If you’re interested, this is the brand of parchment paper that I use.
- You can make the parchment packets up to 3 hours in advance, but keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.
How do you make parchment packets for fish?
Physically creating the packets was what intimidated me the most about this recipe, but the process is actually really easy. I read on another blog that the packets should resemble a large potsticker.
It’s helpful to keep that image in mind when you roll the parchment paper to form the packets. The most important thing is cutting pieces of paper that are long enough so that you have enough paper to roll up and form edges that stay closed.
Can you use other types of fish?
Although I have not personally tried it, this technique also works with other fish like salmon and halibut. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish fillets. Most fish need about 8 to 10 minutes in the oven per inch of thickness.
Other Fish and Vegetable Meals
If you like this cod en papillote, check out some of the other easy pescatarian meals on the site.
- Maple Mustard Salmon and Brussels
- Coconut Cod with Fennel and Spinach
- Summer Squash and Dill Salmon Burgers
- Sheet Pan Dill Radishes and Salmon
- Sheet Pan Orange Glazed Salmon and Broccolini
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Cod en Papillote with Vegetables
- Parchment paper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut two long pieces of parchment paper, each about 18 inches long.
- In a small mixing bowl, mash together the butter, shallot, dill, and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Prepare the parchment packet by placing half of the veggies on one side of the parchment paper. Place a cod fillet on top of the veggies, followed by half of the shallot butter. Put lemon slices on top of the fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add some fresh sprigs of dill if desired. Fold the other side of the parchment paper on top of the veggies and fish and roll in the edges to form a packet. Repeat with the other piece of parchment and the rest of the ingredients. The packets should look like large potstickers.
- Transfer the packets to a baking sheet and then to the oven. Let them bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes. For reference, cod needs about 8 to 10 minutes of baking time per inch of thickness, so you may need more or less cooking time depending on the size of your fillets.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and slice open the packets with a knife (or tear with your fingers). Some steam will escape, so be careful. Eat your meal right out of the packet or transfer the fish and veggies to a plate. Enjoy!
- You can sub other veggies, but they need to be soft and thin, like cherry tomatoes, green beans, or sliced onions.
- The parchment packets can be prepared up to 3 hours in advance. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to turn on the oven.
- Serve this meal on its own or with a whole grain or potato salad.
Enjoy this light meal! – Lizzie