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School may be back in session for most, but around here, the summer heat lives on. In fact, it has gotten to the point where you can’t even step outside at 9am because it is so blazing hot, and even days at the pool or wearing breezy dresses don’t provide much relief. During these hot summer days, I crave ice cold drinks and easy to prepare meals, like this Lemon Herb Fish en Papillote. Not only is this dinner recipe easy to prepare, it is light and fresh and uses wholesome, heart-healthy ingredients like cod, green beans and fresh herbs. I also use Mazola® Corn Oil in this Fish en Papillote recipe because a clinical study showed Mazola® Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com.
In fact, September is National Cholesterol Awareness month and September 29 is World Heart Day, both of which are to raise awareness and educate us about cardiovascular disease and ways to prevent it. Because of this, the American Heart Association recently issued a new presidential advisory on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease (CVD) that strongly advised replacing saturated flat, like that found in coconut oil, with polyunsaturated fat, like corn oil, to reduce the risk of CVD by 30 percent.
I’ve always strived to live a balanced and active lifestyle, but this is even more important to me now that I’m a mom. This means even though the summer heat is really limiting our outdoor time, we still strive to stay active (yup, I’m totally not ashamed to say I’m a “mall walker” or will pay for my child to play at an indoor playground) and I really try to make sure that for the most part we are eating balanced, better-for-you meals, so that we can occasionally treat ourselves to some ice cold summer treats! 😊
Since we are a busy family and always on the go, for us, eating wholesome meals means stocking our fridge with tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and making simple swaps to our everyday ingredients. Things like using whole wheat pasta, no salt added or low sodium broths and canned goods and choosing lean cuts of meat are all easy ways for me to ensure that my family is eating wholesome meals as often as possible.
Today’s Lemon Herb Fish en Papillote recipe is a great example of a “better-for-you dinner” that we enjoy often with a few simple swaps. I am a huge advocate of reducing the amount of salt called for in most recipes and in its place I used generous amounts of fresh herbs, garlic and lemon zest to add flavor. I then swapped out the white wine often called for in most Fish en Papillote recipes and used fresh lemon juice and water. Also, most Fish en Papillote recipes call for using a ton of butter, but in my recipe, I replaced the butter with corn oil, since Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for our family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses including baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.
Not only is Mazola Corn Oil an all-purpose cooking oil that has a smoke point higher than most cooking oils at 450°F and can be used in a variety of ways, from baking, to grilling, to sautéing, since corn oil has a neutral taste that won’t negatively impact the taste of other ingredients, it lets the natural flavor of your food stand out! Plus, using corn oil in my kitchen is an easy and effortless way to reduce saturated fats and cholesterol in our meals.
If you have never made Fish en Papillote before, it may sound intimidating, but it really is a very easy dinner that could not only be made on a busy weeknight but on the weekend for dinner guests. Fish en Papillote is a very forgiving and versatile recipe, and even though my Lemon Herb Fish en Papillote recipe features fresh seasonal green beans, you could also use summer squash, carrots or even asparagus when in season.
How do you and your family stay active and eat better for you meals? Please share in the comments below and check out my Lemon Herb Fish en Papillote recipe!
Helpful Cooking Tips and Information:
What is Fish en Papillote:
Fish en Papillote is a classic French cooking method and means “enveloped in paper.” Typically, food is placed in a folded bag or parcel with a small amount of liquid and then baked in the oven. Baking the food in a parchment paper “bag” with a little liquid is a better for you cooking technique because it causes the food to steam in the bag.
My Lemon Herb Fish en Papillote recipe is a little unique because I use the cold oven baking method, the same method used for my Oven Baked Lemon Caper Salmon. I’ve found that cooking most fish in a COLD oven (not a preheated one) allows for the fish to slowly cook as the oven preheats to 400 degrees, thus yielding perfectly cooked, tender, moist and flavorful cod (or salmon), and doesn’t cause the fish to dry out.
What to serve with Lemon Herb Fish en Papillote?
My Lemon Herb Fish en Papillote is cooked with green beans creating a light and fresh low carb and gluten free meal. However, you could also serve this Fish en Papillote with roasted sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat rolls or a side salad.
Time saving cooking hack:
This Fish en Papillote recipe really does come together quite quickly, but if you want to save time, you can usually find packaged green beans already trimmed and washed in most produce departments. I also often get pre-minced garlic from my produce department.
- ¼ cup Mazola® Corn Oil, divided
- 1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
- 1 shallot, diced
- 6-7 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
- ½ cup water, divided
- 1 ½ pound cod fillets, cut into 4 pieces
- 2-3 lemons
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, (ie: tarragon, oregano, dill, and parsley)
- *Do not preheat oven.*
- In a medium sized microwaveable bowl, toss together 2 tablespoons corn oil, green beans, half of the diced shallots, 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic and ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper. Pour 2 tablespoons of water over green beans and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut four pieces of parchment paper, approximately 15-inches long. Fold each piece of parchment paper in half and cut into a heart-shape.
- Open one piece of parchment paper and lay flat on a baking sheet. Place a handful of the par-cooked green beans on the parchment paper. Top the green beans with one of the cod fillets. Generously brush the cod fillet with some of the remaining corn oil. Top the cod fillet with a pinch of salt and pepper, approximately 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ½ teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced shallots, 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water.
- Fold over other half of parchment. Working your way around the outside of the parchment, fold and pinch along edges to seal. You will want to end up with an oval shaped “bag” when you are done.
- Repeat this process with the remaining pieces of parchment paper and ingredients, until you have 4 bags of fish.
- Place the bags of fish on an even layer on two large baking sheets and place in a COLD oven. Turn on oven to 400 degrees F and bake cod for 12-15 minutes, (depending on how thick cod fillets are) or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish reads 145 degrees F.
- Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting into
parchment and serving. Note: steam will be released when you cut into the parchment so use caution.
- Serve topped with additional chopped fresh herbs and lemon wedges, if desired.