Chef Folse's Pompano en Papillote

Published: Jun. 16, 2015 at 9:47 PM CDT
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Prep Time: 1½ Hours

Yields: 6 Servings


It is difficult to walk into any of the famous New Orleans restaurants and not find Pompano en Papillote on the menu. This dish, which has graced Louisiana tables for well over a century, was originally created at Antoine's restaurant in the French Quarter. The pompano is cooked and served in a parchment envelope, which prevents the slightly dry flesh from becoming tough. In the city today, Pompano en Papillote has taken on many new and creative twists at the hands of young chefs. Following is an original version of the dish.


6 (6–8 ounce) pompano fillets

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

¼ pound unsalted butter

1 cup minced onions

1 cup minced celery

¼ cup minced red bell pepper

¼ cup minced yellow bell pepper

¼ cup minced garlic

1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms

3 tbsps flour

½ cup dry white wine

1 quart shellfish stock

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 pound (70–90 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tbsps chopped basil

1 tbsp chopped tarragon

1 tbsp lemon thyme leaves

1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat

½ cup chopped parsley

paprika for color


Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets and set aside. Using 6 pieces of 15" X 15" parchment paper, make 6 papillote hearts by folding each piece in half and, beginning at the seam end, draw large half heart shape. Cut heart shape out, open parchment on a cutting board and lightly rub with vegetable spray. Set aside. Rinse pompano and pat dry with paper towels. Season to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic and set aside. In a 1-gallon saucepot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic and sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté 1–2 additional minutes. Add flour, blend well into vegetable mixture then add wine, shellfish stock and Worcestershire sauce. Blend well, bring to a low boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally to stop from scorching. Add tomato paste and shrimp and cook 20 minutes, stirring often. Add heavy whipping cream, basil, tarragon and thyme leaves then adjust seasoning to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Cook 10 additional minutes, stirring occasionally, then gently fold in crabmeat, taking care not to break lumps. Place pompano in center of paper heart then, using a slotted spoon, place an equal portion of crabmeat and shrimp mixture over raw fish. Place just enough sauce over fish and seafood to keep from running off the edge of the heart, approximately ½ cup per fish. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika. Fold parchment over fish, leaving 1–2 inches around edges. Starting at top of the heart, crimp parchment together and firmly fold edges into the inside so no cut edge is exposed. NOTE: It is important that parchment is tightly sealed so that steam will not escape during cooking. Place 3 papillotes on each prepared cookie sheet and bake 10–15 minutes or until bag is brown and puffy. Fish fillets should be fully cooked. Serve 1 parchment heart in center of each serving plate and, using scissors, cut a slit across top of the bag, taking care not to burn by escaping steam.