Trout en Papillotte or the Real Reason French Women Don’t Get Fat

Do you remember Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don’t Get Fat? Long before it came out, my mother shared her version of French women diet secrets.

I was a pimply teenager just beginning to suffer the effects of a slowing metabolism. We had just finished eating dinner at a family friend’s apartment, a simple but delicious dinner of roasted salmon, green beans and salad. My mother commented during the car ride home that our host’s love of seafood was the reason she’d always stayed so trim. Coming from my perennially thin mother, the comment was surprising and it was the note of female competitiveness in her voice that made me look up from my book and ask her to explain. “Mais bien sur,” she told me, “fish is very slimming, tres bon pour la ligne. Fish is the perfect food for la diete.”

rainbow trout en papillote
I love the aahh effect when you open up these little packages.

La diete au poisson became a family joke whenever my mother announced that we were having fish for dinner. But decades later, fish remains my go to dinner when I’m trying to lose weight. But instead of suffering through every bite as a teenager who hates fish, I now thoroughly enjoy it.

Steaming fish en papillotes in parchment paper or aluminum is one of the most elegant and easiest way to prepare seafood. And I love that it keeps the house from getting invaded by that fishy smell. Just season the fish, toss it with a few julienned vegetables, and pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The little packages open right at the table in a thrilling cloud of steam.

Foil Papillote packet
I find it easier to use foil to make these packets, just crimp the edges to make it sealed all over.

Rainbow trout is a relatively inexpensive fish and has such a mild, delicious taste. I made rainbow trout en papillote last week with a balsamic butter. Butter? With a diet recipe? Of course! A little butter helps to make everything taste better. Steve and I basically licked our plates clean.

Rainbow Trout en Papillotte
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These trout filets en papillotes are easy to throw together but delicious.
Serves: 2 portions
  • 2 Rainbow Trout, fileted and deboned
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 carrots, peeled and julienned into thin strips
  • 2 stalks of celery, cleaned and julienned into thin strips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the carrots and celery and saute on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the balsamic and blend well. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Cut two large pieces (10 in by 10 in) of aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place one piece on a cookie sheet. Lay the fish skin side down on the paper. Pour half the vegetable butter sauce on top. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over it. Seal the paper closed.
  5. Repeat with the second piec of paper and the second piece of fish and the remaining vegetable butter sauce.
  6. Place in the oven and cook for 12 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, opening the pouches at the table.


3 Responses to Trout en Papillotte or the Real Reason French Women Don’t Get Fat

  1. Looks very yummy!
    I’m a Sydney-based French blogger, promoting healthy eating, fitness and exercise based on the principles of the French Paradox.
    My blog Mademoiselle Slimalicious is NOT a dieting blog. It focuses instead on eating for pleasure, with moderation and balance, making healthy food choices and maintaining a level of fitness by being naturally active.

    I actually did interview Mireille Guiliano (author of French Women Don’t Get Fat) on my blog, you may want to have a look at it.

  2. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not
    even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good blog!

Leave a reply