Halibut with Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce en Papillote

Cooking en Papillote may sound fancy but it is one of the simplest and healthiest ways to cook. “En Papillote” means cooking in paper. All you need are basic lunch sized paper bags.  What I love about this method is that it seals in the flavors and juices of what you are making. What my son loves is that it is like getting a present at mealtime. This is a super kid friendly dish, mild with flavor but rich with taste.  If you think that your child will not respond to the peppers, tomatoes and onions sliced, I suggest that you blend the sauce prior to placing it over the fish in the bag. The blended sauce will look like any other tomato sauce and it will taste the same as if it were not blended. This recipe would also work well with swordfish or shark.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • ¾ pound of Halibut, deboned and skinned, cut into 3 inch x 2 inch pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 plum tomatoes or 1 (28 ounce) can of whole plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper or 1 jar of prepared roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sun dried tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup kalmata olives, pitted
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • 4 brown lunch sized paper bags
  • 4 – 4 inch x 4 inch pieces of parchment paper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Prepare the spaghetti per the package instructions but stop the cooking process 2/3’s of the way through. For example, if the cooking time is 10 minutes, cook the pasta for 6 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  3. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and then the onions and peppers. Sauté them for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute further. Stir anchovy and sun dried tomato pastes. Add tomatoes and using a wooden spoon gently smash the tomatoes into the sauce. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Toss in the olives and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Turn off heat and let sit until you are ready for it.
  4. Open each lunch bag. Place one of the pieces of parchment paper on the bottom of each bag. This helps limit leakage from the bag.
  5. Place some spaghetti at the bottom of each bag. (I put a different amount in each bag for each family member based on how much I know they will eat. Remember these are individual servings you are creating.) Place a piece of fish on top of the spaghetti and spoon over your desired amount of sauce. Roll the bag tightly down. Repeat with the rest of the bags. Place the bags on a cookie sheet and into the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flaky in the center.
  6. Serve the bags closed on each plate and let each person open their own bag.


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