Rainbow Trout baked in Parchment

I guess I could have gone all fancy and said Rainbow Trout En Papillote, but I didn’t want to scare anyone away. This is honestly an easy, relatively foolproof, dish that has a great presentation! It would be an excellent idea for a small dinner party, as fish can be prepped and wrapped ahead of time, then just stuck in the oven to bake when you’re ready. Serve with rice and a green salad, and you’re good to go!

You’ll need:

  • Rainbow trout (or similar) butterflied with the bones removed (ask your fish guy if they have the whole ones if they will prep them this way for you.) (Mine were a little less than 3/4 lb each, dressed)


  • Thin Lemon slices [3-4 per fish]
  • minced garlic (the jarred stuff is fine for this) [1/2 – 1 tsp per fish]
  • chopped/sliced peppers and onions [2-3 slices per fish]
  • fresh herbs… I used rosemary, and (dried) thyme
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Optional: Cajun spice blend (or mixture of cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, paprika) if you’d like a little extra kick.

You’ll also need:

  • Roasting Pan(s) large enough to hold your fish (assume 2 per pan)
  • Parchment Paper (you can find this in most grocery stores today)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. For each fish:  Open your fish, and smear ~1/2 teaspoon of garlic on each side of the fish flesh.  Shake on salt, pepper, & other dry seasonings in a light coating (like you’d normally salt food on your plate).  On the side that will be the bottom, layer slices of lemon, onion, peppers, and fresh herbs.  Fold top of fish back over.
  3. Depending on the size of your fish (and the size of your parchment paper roll) you’ll either need one or two pieces to cover the fish.  What you SHOULD do for a fish this size is cut out 2 large ovals,  5 inches wider than the fish on all sides.  Place the fish in the center of the oval, and top with the other piece of parchment.  Fold up the sides, creasing several times to seal.  Alternately, if your fish fits, you can do a large circle of parchment paper, place fish on one half of the circle, fold over and crimp around into a half-moon shape.  [In these pictures I was lazy and didn’t cut the circle.  I just estimated a large diagonal rectangle and made very messy folds.  Pure laziness.]
  4. If you have extra lemon or herbs, feel free to place them on top of the fish before you crimp the packet closed.
  5. Place fish on your baking sheet or roasting pan.  I could fit two per pan without any spacing issues.
  6. Place in oven for ~ 20 minutes.   You’re not supposed to open these til you’re at the table, but if you’ve never done it before and you’re unsure of timing, you can open a packet in the oven and peek at the inside.  If you still see a little transparent flesh in the center, give it another 2 minutes.  But don’t overcook… it will continue to cook for a few minute after removal from the oven.   Use a binder clip to close your packet back.  If your fish are smaller than mine, you might try 15 min.  Larger you may need to allow 25.
  7. Place the whole packet on each guest’s plate, and let them open it themselves!

Photos (Click to see larger/slideshow)

Hopefully we’ve demystified “en Papillote” for you a little bit today.  It’s really a healthy and easy way to cook!

And, hey, it would be tasty with Brussels Sprouts as a side dish, and maybe some Pepper Cornbread!

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