Herb infused baked rice with fish en papillote is a flavorful way to enjoy tilapia! Don’t be scared off by “en papillote”—it’s just French for “cooked in a paper wrapper.” In reality, it’s a very easy way to get juicy, perfectly cooked fish (rubbery, overdone tilapia? no thanks!). The fish is sealed in a foil pouch along with garlic, tomatoes and zucchini. I serve it with a heaping helping of nutty brown rice baked in chicken broth. All is served with fresh basil!
I’ve been making fish en papillote since forever. But, being in Seattle for one of my BFF’s wedding made me crave fish again! Seattle’s got the best smoked salmon chowder and seafood period on the West coast. Oh, and I couldn’t get enough of Ivar’s fish and chips. Funny thing was I kept raving about “Ivan’s” fish and chips until a local corrected me. Whoops.
Bridesmaid duty never tasted so good. We sampled food and wine at Pike’s Place Market, saw fisherman throwing fish and strolled through the gum wall. We went to the Theo chocolate tour where they explained the story of how cocoa fruit gets turned into chocolate. Their products are bean-to-bar meaning they start the chocolate-making process from cacao beans instead of melting down a big, standard bar. It’s like the microbrew of the chocolate world, and it tastes like it, too. Totally worth going once, especially when you get to sample chocolate from start to finish. Yes, I did manage to squeeze into my bridesmaid dress for Alecia’s wedding and snapped a few photos to boot.
It was a much needed reunion with my gal pals! Just three years ago were all in Chapel Hill suffering through the same nutrition program. Now, we’re scattered across the country: Alecia’s in Seattle, Sam’s in Indianapolis, Brit’s in San Antonio, Teisha’s in Durham and I’m in San Francisco. </3 I’m really glad we’ve stayed in touch and can share these milestones together. At some point, it’ll be too late to make a new old friend.
OK, I’ll stop being wistful.
Back to the fish—I took a few prep shots, so you can see how I layered the fish and veggies. You can make the fish foil packets in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake them. Prep them on Sunday night and you can have fish for dinner on Monday or Tuesday. Cooking both fish and rice means you have a complete meal of a whole-grain, lean protein and veggies. Not bad for an hour or so spent.
This recipe works even if you’re not a tilapia fan. Cod or haddock will do in a pinch. You can also substitute dried basil instead of fresh if you make this in the winter. Just add the dried basil in before baking the rice and fish. Enjoy!
Baked Rice with Fish En Papillote
An easy way to enjoy juicy, perfect cooked tilapia! Fish is sealed in a foil packet along with zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic and served with baked brown rice.
For the baked herb rice
- 1/2 small onion finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 lemon juiced and zested
For the fish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes chopped
- 2 medium zucchini sliced 1/4" thick
- 4 fillets tilapia about 1 pound
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 4 teaspoons parmesan cheese optional
For the baked herb rice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium skillet, saute onion in olive oil for about three minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the salt, chicken broth and rice. Stir until combined.
Pour the rice mixture into a small casserole dish. Cover with two layers of foil. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
Remove casserole dish from the oven, and crank up the heat to 450 degrees F.
Uncover rice and add the basil, lemon juice and zest. Stir and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
For the fish
While the rice is baking, prep your fish foil packets. Mix basil, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
Toss half the herb mixture with your zucchini. Toss the remaining herb mixture with your tomatoes.
Cut out four 12-inch foil squares. Divide the zucchini in four, and layer the slices in the center of each foil square. Add your fish fillet on top. Spoon tomatoes over each fillet.
Bring the two of the foil edges to meet over the fish. Make a 1/8-1/4 inch fold. Fold over a few more times. Twist the ends of the foil packet together and fold it towards the center.
Bake the fish packets at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes. Carefully open the packets allowing steam to escape. Sprinkle with basil and parmesan and enjoy!
Inspired by Cook’s Illustrated.
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