Basa Fillets En Papillote, with capers, finger chilli, garlic and flat leaf parsley

Basa Fillets En Papillote, with capers, finger chilli, garlic and flat leaf parsley
When I was having chimichurri recently I reckoned it would go really well with white fish fillets. Perhaps it does. As I’d bought a pack of four frozen basa fillets yesterday I decided to do a trial run with one of them for sups last night as I’d never tasted them before. And so glad I did as chimichurri would be way too strong in flavour.Instead, I went with flat leaf parsley, garlic, capers and green finger chillies, which left only the capers with loads of flavour. Until I buy a hand-held stick blender or immersion blender next Friday, with an all important attachment bowl to be able to make hummus, dips and pastes this is a good attempt at something I’ll definitely be making every other week. Partly as these Basa Fillets En Papillote are so easy to prepare. And it only takes about 10 – 15 minutes to roast in a preheated oven (times vary according to how thick the fillets are).

Basa Fillets En Papillote, with capers, finger chilli, garlic and flat leaf parsley

The one ingredient I knew I should have bought in was a jar of green olives. Those are definitely needed here for their slightly sour taste. What was absolutely perfect were the courgettes (zucchini) cut into thick slices and pan-fried in a little oil. Once they were nicely golden, and allowed to catch slightly, they were transferred to a differing saucepan and kept warm. A tablespoon of water was added to the pan that cooked them and all of the flavour and sediment was grabbed and added to the basa fillets to keep them moist during roasting. Along with olive oil during cooking and a knob of butter afterwards. This was full of flavour and incredibly delicate all at the same time. I would prefer to cover the fillets lightly with a paste purely as the other flavours would blend more evenly. Especially as there is so little cooking time involved. I will update this post with a recipe for a paste within the next couple of weeks. Until then, I’m perfectly happy to feast on something so light and tasty.

Basa Fillets En Papillote, with capers, finger chilli, garlic and flat leaf parsley


  • 2 x 100g each (3.52 oz each) basa fillets, thawed if bought frozen
  • 3 – 4 x smallish stems flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves used, rinsed
  • 2 x garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 x finger chilli (Scoville heat rating 50,000), washed and sliced (remove the seeds for less heat)
  • couple of handfuls x capers, chopped, more or less to personal taste
  • handful x green pitted olives, chopped, more or less to personal taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 x tablespoon water to deglaze and create a cooking liquor from the pan that fried the courgettes (zucchini)
  • freshly squeezed lime juice, about half a small lime
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 x pieces parchment paper squares of 30 x 30cm or 12 x 12 ins
  • salted butter, to serve

To serve:

  • olive oil
  • 2 x smallish – medium courgettes (zucchini), washed, trimmed, cut in half crossways, each half sliced in half lengthways, then each piece sliced again into thick slices
  • up to 400g (14.11 oz) x organic new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into discs about 4mm or 2/10ths in in thickness
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • both sea salt and black pepper

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • If going with potato discs they take the longest to cook. Put a heavy-based pan/skillet on electric heat No 3 (out of 6) and when hot add a little oil. Place the potatoes in and give them around 15 minutes each side, reducing heat to No 2, if necessary, when turning them over.
  • Preheat oven to 220°C, 430°F.
  • Put another heavy-based pan on heat No 3 and when hot pour in a little oil. Place the courgettes slices into the pan and allow about 7 minutes each side. At this stage they don’t need to be fully cooked. When nicely golden transfer to a pan or suitable bowl to keep warm and to finish off cooking, add the tablespoon of water to deglaze their pan and set aside.
  • After preparing the parchment paper place a fillet on each, drizzle with olive oil, add the other ingredients, including both the lime juice and cooking liquor from the courgettes, and start to wrap, just like you would with a small present (for the proper way of enclosing the fish see next bulleted step below). If necessary secure the flaps with toothpicks. Carefully place into a suitable roaster and place in the preheated oven second shelf down, if using electric. Set timer for 10 minutes. If fillets are fairly thick allow another 5 minutes.
  • Fold the parchment paper in half, place the fish in the centre of one half and bring both sides of parchment together. From one open end start to fold over 2.5cm or one inch sections, pressing down hard and creasing the paper. Keep doing that along the open edge until the fish is completely enclosed. It should resemble a half crescent shape. I find it easier to do the step above!


All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. Don’t you just love fish cooked in parchment? It’s healthy, quick and I just love to unwrap them after they’re cooked! I love the ingredients you have in here… simple but flavorful and not a lot of fuss. Beautiful photos too Johnny –bravo!


      • – Thanks, Darya. This is such a simple, summery little dish. Must cook more of them when I can make pastes proper.
        – Did I write summery? Wearing five layers, indoors, and dreading the impending doom of food shopping later in the rain. Yikes. Having something similar for lunch, with pasta this time, which will hopefully bolster me against this wretched weather. Still, love living this close to the sea. Just wish it was the Med!


    • It’s years since I’ve cooked en papillote. Where have I been?!? It’s so easy and tasty all at the same time. Now, of course, I’ll be raiding the stores for more frozen fish! If only I could be bothered to wrap the parchment paper properly. I find it easier to wrap like a pressie 🙂
      Thanks, re photos.


    • As I’m aware you don’t like seafood I’m especially pleased by your comment. This isn’t the easiest to plate as it cooks, and spoils, all too easily. Although I did under cook the fish to be able to reheat gently. Seem to be heading back to mostly white again. Must spend time ironing white fabrics, though. Too many creases!


  2. It looks too perfect to eat. I love the idea of fish cooked in parchment, all the flavours infused together.


  3. I have some basa fillets in my freezer. I don’t know if my building skills are quite so good as yours so my tower may look more like Pisa – but I love what you’ve done here and will give it a go! 😉


    • – Do you have a processor to make a paste? If so I’d go that route, with green olives as well. This really needs to be blended more evenly for it to work properly. As it’s in the oven for so little time there’s hardly enough time for all of those flavours to meld and shine through.
      – As for the potato stacks, that’s just a little bit of fun. Besides, their slightly sweet and crunchy texture works well. Especially as the courgettes tend to be a bit on the limp side. Still, love courgettes when they are allowed to get slightly scorched. Amazing flavours!


    • – I wouldn’t exactly call this a masterpiece, Fae. I definitely would recommend using those ingredients as a paste only as their flavours don’t have long enough to infuse fully otherwise. Until I manage to buy a small processor it’s the best option. Hopefully by Friday I’ll be up and running with one.
      – Yes, it’s too long since I’ve bothered with this type of dish. To the extent I couldn’t remember how to fold the parchment paper! Oh well, as a present on the plate looked okay. And, importantly, no steam escaped.


  4. You know what, many years ago when I first went to live in England, I was in a bed and breakfast and they served me a fish with capers one night for dinner that looked a bit like this. I was highly impressed and (had never forgotten about it) and thought I might make something like it soon. Ok, yours looks way more artistic than the one I had 🙂


    • Sometimes it’s possible to get incredibly good fish here. I guess that’s partly as we are an island with a wealth of fish and seafood readily available. And yet, even though I live less than five minutes from the sea, there isn’t a fishmongers within walking distance. That’s the reason I went with frozen instead. Good quality I have to admit 🙂


  5. Oh my! This is wonderful! I think if I would have read this post first I would have done a few things differently. Or, maybe not posted at all!! I’m humbled, but very inspired by you! Thank you for sending me the link. Love how you used the toothpicks to close the parchments too.


    • I think your post works really well. I Googled salmon en papillote a little earlier and, quite honestly, some of the recipes are trying too hard. The one element I’m missing out on is not being able to create a paste as I don’t have a suitable food processor. The reason for stating that, and I think I included this within my post, is purley because of the short cooking time. With my ingredients for the basa fillets I wasn’t able to get an overall well balanced flavour. Hence the need of the paste.
      – Ah, the toothpicks were very necessary as the parchment mustn’t let out steam. I’ve never bothered to wrap en papillote the proper way 🙂


  6. Wonderful recipe, Johnny. You are right – the zucchini is a perfect pairing! This is a great way to prepare frozen basa. Best – Shanna PS Don’t you love your immersion blender? I bet it has arrived by now.


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