Sea bream en papillote

1 hour 10 minutes


  • 16 sea bream fillets, approximately 100-125g each
  • 4 large carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 4 sticks of celery, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1kg new potatoes, sliced in half
  • 600g of purple sprouting broccoli
  • 600ml of dry white wine
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 100g of sorrel leaves, finely chopped
  • 250g of butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 lemon, optional


First of all you need to part-cook your potatoes, carrots and celery, which will finish cooking in the oven. The purple sprouting broccoli can go straight into paper and foil bag though and will cook through in the given time. So place your potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil on the hob and then gently simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and then leave to one side
Melt 50gms of butter in another saucepan on the hob and then add the carrot and celery and cook over a medium heat for 10 - 12 minutes until just soft and then season with salt and pepper
Make your parcels by tearing off 8 sheets of baking paper and 8 sheets of foil about 37cms square. Place the foil on top of the baking paper and begin to add your ingredients by spooning even quantities of carrot and celery in the middle. You may want to do this part, 4 sheets at a time, depending on space. Add to the vegetables a sprinkling of garlic, thyme leaves and dot some extra butter on. Then take two sea bream fillets, season generously and place a bay leaf on one.
Sandwich them together so that the skin faces out and lay the fillets on top of the carrot and celery. Place the remaining vegetables around the outside, ie the potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli. Then fold up the foil, edge to edge and crimp to begin to seal, leaving a gap a one end. Pour in about 75mls of the wine and then seal completely
Then wrap the paper around, again bringing the edges together and starting at one end, fold over 1 cm of the edge, doing about 4 cm at a time, working all the way around to form a semicircle. Preheat the oven to 220C and when ready, place the parcels on a baking sheet and pop inside. You should be able to fit four parcels onto each baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes
When ready, quickly serve the parcels onto warmed (but cheap) plates and ask your guests to cut them open and pass around a bowl with the chopped sorrel to sprinkle on top, for a grassy, citrus kick at the end. However, if you can’t find sorrel, you could always use slices of lemon