Sea Bass en Papillote with Sweet Chile Hoisin Broth

Sea Bass en Papillote with Sweet Chile Hoisin Broth

Any white, meaty fish or shellfish is an outstanding platform for this flavorful broth.  The flavor notes of salt and minerals that are provided by shellfish pair brilliantly with the slightly sweet, hot and spicy flavor of the broth.

Serves 4


Sweet Chile Hoisin Broth (makes approx. 1 cup flavorful broth):
1 ½ tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chile sauce
2 teaspoons sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cups organic vegetable broth

Sea Bass en Papillote:
¼ cup peanut oil
Sea salt
2 dried red chiles
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 small leeks, white and light green parts, julienned
2 medium carrots, julienned
Optional: 1 lemongrass bulb minced
4 sea bass filets (about 6 ounces each) (can substitute cod or halibut)
Sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Zest of ½ an orange
4 tablespoons butter
Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
2 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly on the diagonal, for garnish

Special materials: Parchment paper, cut into large (approximately 10” x 10”) squares


Prepare the broth:
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve pressing on any solids, and reserving liquid.

Prepare the sea bass:
Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Prepare 4 large squares of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) approximately 10” x 10”.  Fold each square in half, unfold and lay flat.  Set aside.

Place the peanut oil in a large, sauté pan; place over high heat until oil is just hot and beginning to shimmer.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the chiles, ginger and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add the leeks and the carrots, toss.  Cover the pan and turn off the heat.  Allow the vegetables to partially steam and cook in the sauté pan for 4 minutes until just beginning to wilt and become tender.  Uncover, toss to combine.  Remove the chile peppers.

In the center of one half of the parchment paper, make a bed of the leeks and carrots.  Repeat with the remaining parchment squares.  If using the minced lemon grass, divide the lemongrass among the four beds of vegetables.  Season the fish filets on both sides with salt and pepper, and place 1 fillet on top of each vegetable bed.  Sprinkle the orange zest over the fish, and top each filet with 1 tablespoon of butter.

Spoon the 2 tablespoons of the Sweet Chile Hoisin Broth over the fish.  Fold the parchment over the fish and seal all the edges by crimping them together.  Put the packets on a cookie sheet and place the sheet in the oven.  Bake until the packets puff slightly, about 8 minutes for thin fillets, 10 minutes for thick fillets.  Remove the packets from the oven.


Cut open each papillote, being careful not to spill any hot liquids, and taking care to avoid the hot steam that may escape when the package is opened.  Use a slotted spatula to transfer the fillets and the vegetable beds to warmed dinner plates.  Pour the broth from each of the packets into a bowl, and spoon over each plated fish.  Lightly garnish with cilantro sprigs and sliced scallions.  Serve immediately.

[Chef’s Note: A classic stir fry of shrimp, scallops, or lobster when tossed with the wilted vegetables and served over rice or pasta with the broth is another wonderful service option.]

Recipe and photo by Donna Marie Zotter