Cooking en papillote is a no-fuss, simple way to cook fish that doesn’t make a mess out of your kitchen. In this recipe, we use cod, blood orange and fennel with salty olives and capers for an aromatic dish that will transport you right to the French coast. The parchment paper packets trap in the moisture from the cod and citrus, leaving you with a tender, flaky fish and a flavorful sauce that begs to be sopped up with some crusty bread. The magic of cooking en papillote is that it can also be easily scaled down for one or up to four. Serve with rice pilaf, steamed cous cous or a green salad, if you’re keeping it light.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Fold the parchment sheets in half crosswise. Trace a large half heart on the paper, making sure it is larger than one fish fillet. Cut along the line with a pair of kitchen scissors. Unfold and you should have two sheets of parchment paper that look like large hearts.
Working with one sheet of parchment paper at a time, arrange half of the fennel in a compact row on one side of the creased line. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with one fillet of cod and season the fish with salt and pepper. Top with a few orange rounds and scatter half of the cubed butter over the fish. Scatter half of the olives and half of the capers over the top. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the wine. Arrange a few small fennel fronds and 2 parsley sprigs over the fish. Repeat with the remaining parchment paper and ingredients.
To seal up the packets, fold the other half of the heart over the fish. Starting at the pointed end (the bottom of the heart), begin folding the edge of the parchment into small, overlapping triangles, working your way up. Imagine you’re sealing an empanada or a dumpling. Once the packets are tightly sealed, carefully transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top of each packet with a little olive oil (this is purely for aesthetics). Bake until the parchment is puffed and the fish is opaque, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Carefully transfer parchment packets to two plates. Tear open the tops and serve right away, passing flaky sea salt for sprinkling at the table.