This recipe was commissioned by Dairy Australia for their Australian Dairy Discovery cookbook.

Most tender protein

En papillote? You want me to get out my dictionary before cooking. No thank you.


Don’t feel put off by the fancy French term. All it means is wrapping your food in paper before cooking. It couldn’t be any simpler. And the result is incredible.

Fish is such a delicate protein, especially white fish. It is so easy to overcook it. And who likes dry fish?!! Cooking it in paper means you steam your piece of protein gently, together with all the other ingredients you add to the pouch. Preferably you will want to add a liquid of some form, that can penetrate the fish, to give it extra moisture.

Compound butter

This recipe was one of the creations for Dairy Australia, so plenty of dairy was a must. The butter you add to the pouch is a simple compound butter.

Make sure your butter is soft enough to mix in your zest, spices and herbs. I always choose to make plenty in advance, then wrap it tightly into a cling wrap sausage and refrigerate it. Then when you need it, just cut off the required amount from the butter sausage, remove the cling wrap, and you’re ready to go.

How to fold the paper

Each portion of fish will have their own pouch. Start by cutting a piece of baking paper into an oval large enough that it can hold your piece of fish. If the paper is about 4-5 times the size of the fish, you should be ok.

Next you’ll spread the salsa on one half of the oval. Place the fish on top, then the butter.

Enclose the fish by folding the paper in half. Starting on one edge, closely fold the edge, about 2cm at a time, all the way around the edge, until you reach the end. To prevent it all from unravelling, just add a little twist to the paper at the end.

Make sure your seal is tight, so that no air can escape. When you do this for the first time, it might help to brush a little egg around the edges to act as glue. With practice you’ll find that the right technique when folding will be a tight enough seal.

Orange and mango fillet of fish en papillote

Author: Julia Wharington
En papillote (or ‘wrapped in paper’) is a classic form of French cookery. It is a very gentle way of steaming fish in an enclosed pocket, while the butter and other juices help infuse it with bursts of flavour and plenty of moisture. The result is an incredibly tender piece of protein.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine Modern Australian
Servings 4 serves
Calories 485 kcal


  • 4 x 130g white fish fillets skinned and deboned

Orange butter:

  • 100 g unsalted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • ½ chilli
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 5 leaves mint
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Green mango salsa:

  • ½ small onion
  • 1 green mango firm
  • ½ red capsicum
  • ½ chilli
  • 10 leaves mint
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced).
  • For the orange butter, grate ginger, finely chop chilli and mint, zest the orange and combine all with softened butter. Season with salt. Refrigerate.
  • To make the salsa, dice onion, mango and capsicum. Thinly slice chilli and mint and combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle with orange and lemon juice and mix well. Season with salt.
  • Prepare four pieces of parchment paper by cutting them into large ovals, approximately 40x30cm.
  • Spread salsa onto one side of the paper. Place fish fillet on the salsa and top with pieces of orange butter. Close the pouch, then starting at one point, tightly fold the edges to form a seal, continuing along the perimeter. Twist the end to prevent it from unfolding. Repeat with the other three portions.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  • Serve unopened in the paper.


No steam should escape while baking. Brushing the edges of the paper with egg helps to create a tight seal.
Keyword butter, fish, orange, seafood