By The Spoonful


Steamed Cod with Pesto, Rice and Green Beans

En papillote is French for parchment. It also is a fancy cooking term meaning you are steam cooking in a paper pouch. This method of cooking seals in the foods flavor and juices, requires little to no added cooking fat and can make a beautiful rustic presentation if you choose to serve dinner right from the parchment bag. Cooking in parchment is very simple and can be a pretty healthy way to cook anything from vegetables, seafood, chicken or pork.

If you have a roll of parchment paper on hand, you can make your own pouch by folding the paper and tightly sealing the edges so that the contents are secure. If you aren’t the best at arts and crafts or DIY projects, then I suggest purchasing already made parchment paper bags. You can find this type of parchment product in the same isle as foil, plastic wrap and regular parchment paper at your local grocery store.

Foil can be a substitute for parchment in en papillote cooking. Foil is typically used during grilling or camp fire cooking, but it can also be used for oven steaming. Food cooked in a foil pouch will cook faster then when in a parchment pouch, so make sure to watch your cooking time.

I made this seafood dish over the lenten season using a large cod fillet, fresh green beans, homemade pesto, cooked rice and lemon slices for some extra aroma and flavor. If you are a big asparagus fan, you can swap it for the green beans. Personally, I’m a huge green bean fan!

Pesto is a sauce traditionally made of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. I like to make my fresh pesto using pine nuts and walnuts and I usually add a pinch of crushed red pepper for a kick. Don’t feel like you need to make a fresh pesto sauce, there are some pretty good jar pesto sauce’s you can find.

What I love about parchment cooking is the clean up! There is none if you decide to serve dinner from the parchment bag. Below I have step by step pictures on how I assembled this yummy perfect for a weeknight dinner. I hope this convinces you to start utilizing parchment cooking for more then a cookie sheet liner. Let me know of your parchment cooking adventures, and if you try my pesto cod recipe!





Or you can transfer parchment contents to a serving platter or plate.

Steamed Cod with Pesto, Green Beans and Rice

By The Spoonful

Makes 4-6 Servings

  • 2 lbs. cod fillets
  • 3 cups steamed rice
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup prepared pesto
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 parchment cooking bags or parchment paper

Season cod with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread pesto over cod evenly, set aside.

Using 2 parchment cooking bags, place the ingredients in this order: half the rice, half the green beans, half the lemon slices, one pound of cod and top with half the tomato slice in a thin layer. Fold the open edge of cooking bag twice and crimp well, you may need to use paper clips to help keep it secure. Repeat with remaining ingredients and parchment bag.

Place bags on a cookie sheet, place in a 400°F preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

To check for doneness, open one packet; fish should be flaky and opaque and green beans should be crisp-tender.

Transfer packets to a serving platter and serve immediately; be careful of the steam as you open the parchment bags. You can either serve out of parchment bags or transfer contents to a platter.

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