Baking fish in parchment paper or tin foil - known in France and gourmet cooking circles as en papillote - steams the fish with a minimum of fuss and equipment.
Delicate fish-sole and other thin white fish-is particularly delicious cooked in parchment packets since it cooks gently and stays moist. Any fish, however, can (and should!) be cooked using this method: the fish essentially steams in its own juices, is difficult to over-cook, and ends with the easiest clean-up in the world.
To get started, heat an oven to 350°F.
Lay one serving of fish and its seasonings on one half of a large sheet of parchment paper or tin foil (about 18 inches long). (Note: If you like, you can fold the parchment or foil before putting the fish on it and cut it into a heart shape for a more elegant presentation.) Prepare one serving packet per person.
Now add seasonings. You can simply use salt and pepper, or add small, thinly sliced or shredded vegetables like carrot, zucchini, or peas. Herbs like basil, cilantro, or thyme are also nice additions. This recipe is endlessly flexible, so add what sounds good to you.
Pictured here is petrale sole with shredded ginger, thinly sliced green onions, and slivers of chile all sprinkled with a bit of salt and a drizzle or two of toasted sesame oil.