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Our Seafood Expert’s Trick for Perfect Halibut

Showcase our sustainable wild-caught halibut while it’s in-season with this foolproof cooking method.

Image of halibut in parchment paper.

As Senior Seafood Buyer for Whole Foods Market, Kimberly Blanco is on the team responsible for sourcing all the seafood that ends up on ice behind our counters nationwide. She also helps develop new and exciting seafood items for you to confidently cook at home. Here, she shares her favorite foolproof way to cook halibut — en papillote.

There are many delicious ways to cook halibut, from grilling to pan-searing, but en papillote is my go-to method when I need an easy dinner solution. It’s a beautiful way to showcase our sustainable wild-caught halibut, which is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Yes, halibut has a season (it runs from mid-March to the start of summer) — and springtime is the best time to buy it. If you’re new to halibut, this mild and meaty fish has a mild, subtly sweet flavor and firm texture.

What is en Papillote?

French for “in paper,” this classic cooking method sounds complicated, but it’s actually very simple. Essentially, food is sealed in parchment paper then steamed in the oven, locking in flavor and juices. This effortless dinner hack is easy enough to pull off on a weeknight, but you can keep it in your back pocket for a special occasion. What can you cook en papillote? While halibut is my favorite choice, salmon, tilapia, vegetables and even turkey breast can be delicious.

How to Cook Halibut en Papillote:

Simply place your halibut fillets on a sheet of parchment paper along with the ingredients and aromatics of your choice. A few ideas:

  • Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley)

  • Grated or sliced zucchini

  • Grated carrots

  • Thinly sliced or diced leeks

  • Haricots verts

  • Halved cherry tomatoes

  • Kalamata olives

  • Sliced lemon

One of my favorite combinations is chopped kale, coconut milk and cooked quinoa — and sometimes I’ll get fancy and place a few slices of lemon or blood orange over the fish. There is no right or wrong mixture. Just make sure that your ingredients are cut small enough to fully cook with the fish.

Bring the top seams of the parchment paper together and fold down to seal so that no air can escape (watch below to see the technique). Place the pouch on a large rimmed baking sheet to catch any juices that escape during cooking, then let your oven work its magic. Soon you’ll have a no-fuss seafood dish you can easily toss together on a weeknight or special occasion. Trust me, your guests will be impressed.

Want to see a demo of this technique? Watch our step-by-step video to learn how to make a parchment paper packet.

How To Make a Parchment Paper Packet

Next, get started with this easy fish in parchment recipe which works for halibut, salmon, arctic char and tilapia.

More fish en papillote recipes:

Love halibut en papillote? Try these ideas.

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