By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
Baking fish in parchment paper or tin foil is known in France as poisson en papillote (fish in a parcel). It is a very simple and healthy way to cook fish and is also very flavorful since the fish and vegetables cook together in their own seasoned juices. Cleanup is easy too! Any white fish will work. I used tilapia in this recipe. You can refer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide to help you make ocean-friendly seafood choices.
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, washed
- 1 pound tilapia fillets, about 1-inch thick (rinsed & dried)
- 1 medium shallot, peeled & thinly sliced
- 20 cherry tomatoes, washed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 medium lemon, halved
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lemon wedges for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Lay out two sheets of aluminum foil (each about 12 inches long) on a baking sheet.
- Place a large handful of baby spinach leaves in the middle of each piece of foil.
- Lay half of the fish fillets on each bed of spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lay half of the shallot slices on each of the fillets, followed by the cherry tomatoes and the sprigs of thyme
- Fold the sides of the foil inwards.
- Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lemon on each packet.
- Drizzle each packet each with 1/8 cup wine and 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
- Fold in the top and bottom of the foil and pinch them closed, creating neat sealed packages.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the fish is opaque. Carefully open the packets – they will be hot!
Garnish with lemon wedges.
Serve over a bed of cooked rice or quinoa, juices and all.
Yield: 2 servings
Nutirtion Facts Per Servine: 266 Calories; 12 Grams fat: 7 grams Carbohydrate; 32 grams Protein.
Key Ingredient Benefits
Lemon/Lime: These citrus fruits contain citrus bioflavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are active in improving the function of the immune system. They also have anti-microbial properties and are a good source of a number of nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, and folate. The fruits’ bioflavonoids may also function as anti- inflammatories and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Olive Oil: This type of oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combo of olive oil and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in maintaining a pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance.
Shallots: These small, round vegetables are related to the onion. Shallots resemble garlic in that their structure is composed of cloves and they also have a bold flavor and strong smell. Like onion and garlic, they contain flavonoids; a type of antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables that help protect the body and may reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, one tablespoon of chopped shallots is high in potassium, vitamin A, and folate.
Spinach: A super leafy green, spinach is among the world’s healthiest vegetables. Rich in vitamins (good source of vitamin K), and minerals, it is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.
Thyme: A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is a wonderful addition to fish, egg and vegetable dishes. Thyme is packed with flavonoids that have antioxidant capacity. It is also a good source of manganese and vitamin K, which allow for antioxidant protection. This herb has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Tilapia: This lean, versatile white fish has a mild flavor and moderately firm texture that lends itself to a variety of low-fat seasonings and cooking techniques. It is a good source of low-calorie, low-fat protein and is rich with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a good source of the flavonoid antioxidant, lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene may offer protection from skin damage and skin cancer. Another flavonoid abundant in tomatoes is Zeaxanthin, which may help prevent age related macular disease (ARMD). This fruit, which is often thought of as a vegetable, is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
White Wine: The nutritional content of white wine, aside from its antioxidant properties, includes phosphorus, potassium, and fluoride. When used in cooking, the alcoholic content is negligible however the flavor benefits are great.
Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.