Papilottes de loup de mer au fenouil et aux courgettes- IMBB23

Fillets of Sea Bass with Fennel & Courgettes, scented with Provencal Herbs, baked in Paper Parcel.

IMBB#23 this month theme is Vive Le France and is hosted by Cucina Testa Rosa
Specifically, it’s Vive la France Régionale avec un Verre du Vin!

When the theme came up I knew I would do Cuisine Provencal. What the south has a lot to offer? Lots of seafood and sun kissed vegetables.

In South of France, I have experienced haute cuisine…at Chateau de Eza and some fine establishments in Monaco, Cap Jean Ferrat, Villefranche Sur Mer, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Biot and St Tropez.
But French food can be so terrific even in small brasserie where old men smoke and drink…
I have even sat down at little brasseries next the the marche and ate fantastic steak frites.

Few times I went to the charcuteries and bought cold meat, delicacies, bought fruits and sat on the rocks with my baguette.

I am not an expert on French cooking but I admit having spent the last 6 summers in Cote d Azur certainly is long enough to have a love affair with their food.

Having said that I have spent my time along the coast line it’s a natural I would choose fish.

So I choose fish cooked in a paper parcel. You can vary the kind of fish here, it can be rouget (red mullet) , dorade (sea bream) or turbot.
Cooking in pappilotte, means the flavour cannot escape, the parcel intensifies. The fish inside the parcel is cooked by the steam from the vegetables and fish stock.

This dish is very light and healthy. Although I have eaten this one long before I have stepped my foot in France, nothing can really compare when you actually eat this dish where it has come from.

One of my finest memory of having papillotte de rouget (red mullet) was in Monte Carlo (I know it’s not France but few mins walk you are already in the border. Nothing much different except that it’s a principality ruled by the Grimaldis). We booked seats at St Benoit, which is a few steps away from the renowned Hotel Hermitage and the Hotel de Paris.
St Benoit offers “La Cuisine de la Mer“, Kitchen of the Sea. Such memorable dinner with its terrace offers a panoramic view of the the port of Montecarlo.

Now I am re creating almost of the same dish but this time this is inspired by a recipe I found on Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons.

This recipe is not difficult but rather needs a lot of patience. The preparation involves the following

1) Marinating
2) Preparing of fish stock
3) Preparing the garnishes in which are cooked separately
4) Assembling the pappilottes
5) Cooking

2 fillets of seabass
1 egg white

2 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 basil leaves ( I didn’t have any but this will add extra flavour)
freshly ground pepper


Bones and head of the fish
2 tomatoes chopped
2 shallots
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 basil leaves
25ml dry white wine
1 bayleaf
lemon juice
salt & pepper

Vegetables garnish
2 saffron potatoes (Pommes de Terre Aux pistils de safran)
2 small courgettes sliced
2 fennel sliced
spring onions
garlic crushed
2 tomatoes
sprigs of rosemary
trimmings of fennel

1) Sprinkle the fillets with pepper
2) Add the marinade
3)Leave to marinate for an hr at room temperature

1) Ask you fishmonger to scale, gut and fillet them.
2) Keep the bones and head
3) In a saucepan combine all the chopped vegetables, fish, wine
4) Add 200ml water and bring to boil.
5) Skim and simmer gently for 10 mins
6) Let it rest to infuse the flavour
7) Pass the juices through a strainer
8) Put it back to pan reduce the stock.
9) Season to taste, add lemon

Since I used potato saffron, fennel and courgettes you will need to cook these separately. You can vary the vegetables as long you retain the Provencal touch.

A) Saffron Potatoes -( Pommes de Terre Aux pistils de safran)
1) Peel potatoes and trim them to barrel shape
2) Slice
3) Place potatoes in a sauté pan, add water, a pinch of salt and saffron threads
4) Cook till soft and season

B) Fennel
1) Trim and slice fennel
2) Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil
3) Gently fry fennel till soft and light brown.

C) Courgettes
1) Slice and fry in a little olive oil till light brown.
2) Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 mins.

1) Preheat oven to 230C
2) Lightly salt the inside of the sea bass
3) Lightly break the egg white with a fork
4) Cut out 2 14” in circles of grease proof paper
5) Brush a little egg white around the edges

6) Arrange fennels on the lower half
7) Add a tsp of stock
8) Lay fish fillet on the bed of fennels
9) Add the saffron potatoes and add remaining fennels and courgettes.
10) Top with a sprig of rosemary
11) Season with grounded pepper.
12) Fold over the greaseproof paper and fold over edges to seal the juices.


1) Bake on a large lightly oiled tray
2) Bake for 8mins
3) Observe cooking time because there is strong built up of heat.


1) Prepare plates
2) Present the papillottes on the dish
3) Open them up and serve on plates still wrapped in a parcel.

For the wine, Cotes de Provence this is the only French Rose I found at Carrefour. Fresh and fruity and I could feel the summer days of Provence.

Had I gone to a fancier cava in town, surely I would find Chateau Minuty , Chateau Roseline or maybe DomainOtt.

Such long time to prepare, quick to cook and disappeared fast from my plate.
Sipping my wine I contemplated the years spent in South of France.

Wont be long I will be back there very soon.

Food related photos taken in Cannes and Antibes



  1. Dutched Pinay February 26, 2006 at 3:01 am #

    We just came from dinner outside [the dinner Dutchman promised me] and I was thinking of ordering Sea Bass, same as what you are cooking here, but they do not have it on their menu. Guess what, I settled with Filet Tilapia instead, which was a house specialty.

    Its 2am now and I am still full [can’t sleep with a full tummy!], thus is the reason why I hate eating out. I have such a small stomach and I cannot take much even if I want to. My sides start to hurt, argh!

    And oh the rose wine too… I’ve been on it now for 2 weeks after a long red wine [all sorts] splurge every night. The one I love best is the light and fruity rose.

    Love the foto of the window. Very down south.

  2. Bea at La Tartine Gourmande February 26, 2006 at 4:10 am #

    Wow Sha, so much work indeed! Beautiful!
    I am glad you are celebrating our belle bouffe française! I love Loup de mer!!! Btw, ahahah, let me correct the title: Papilottes de loup de mer au fenouil et aux courgettes. Sorry, cannot help it! 😉 I am your French teacher, na!

    Great recipe and now you need a rest!!!

  3. Bea at La Tartine Gourmande February 26, 2006 at 4:11 am #

    oops, mispelled: papillote!! Sorry!!!

  4. ces February 26, 2006 at 4:20 am #

    hi sha..
    ako naman i just cooked awhile ago my gingered seabass en papillote recipe but used king fish instead…alam mo i don’t even know what that fish is…marco bought it..sea bass is still better..then tilapia..
    ang ganda naman nyan scenic france na yan! wish we could also go there!
    hey i can send you the bbq sauce if you want!:)
    i’m moving back my blog to many casualties re that commenting..:(

  5. Marketman February 26, 2006 at 12:18 pm #

    Sha, that looks REALLY REALLY GOOD. Gotta try that with some lapu-lapu or talakitok soon.

  6. relly February 26, 2006 at 12:50 pm #

    LOL with Bea, i hope someone can correct my french-cow maaaaa!! and of course my english carabao!
    Wow Sha, kaya pala balik balik ako wala pa ang posting mo… so this is the reason why! Yummmmm Nice pictures indeed. Bravo!!!

  7. mae February 26, 2006 at 5:36 pm #

    As usual Sha, greatly executed!

    Long process nga… napagod ka na ba? I love sea bass. This looks amazing. You really deserve that wine afterwards. Well done. Great pics.

    Just posted my ‘Almusal’.

  8. AnP February 26, 2006 at 9:37 pm #

    it’s 9pm and your entry just made my mouth water. sadly, we do not even have anything close to what you prepared. ugh! kagutom!!!

  9. charles February 26, 2006 at 9:50 pm #

    wow ate sha! you should probably open ur own resto or something!

  10. K February 27, 2006 at 8:53 am #

    I’m a fish fan. Kakagutom mga ginagawa mo.

  11. Al Bjørnstad February 27, 2006 at 11:19 am #

    Tulo na naman ang laway ko! BTW, are you going to Beng this March? Tuloy ka ba?

  12. ostwestwind February 27, 2006 at 4:34 pm #

    This sounds like summer! I had to lean French in Cannes when I was 15, unfortunately I’ve all forgotten, but your picture and the dish brings back the smell of France in summer!

  13. analyse February 27, 2006 at 8:29 pm #

    it sure tastes great, haba ba naman ng procedure. im a fish lover, but not fond of doing la cuisine, not compatible, i know. nakakatulo naman ng laway mga pictures..

  14. Joycelyn February 28, 2006 at 6:43 am #

    hi sha, how very beautiful – gorgeous entry; i can almost smell the delicious scent wafting from the paper parcel 😉

  15. Celine, the Giant Squid March 2, 2006 at 1:47 am #

    What a mouthwatering title, your French is as excellent as your cooking!!!

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