Tilapia En Papilotte with fresh herbs, white wine and onions
Have you ever traveled somewhere in the world where your native tongue is not the main language of use, in this case, English?
If you are like me you pick up your little travel dictionary before arriving at the travel destination. The kind of dictionary that translates words from the native tongue to English and vice versa ensuring that even if your pronunciation is a bit lacking you can still communicate the word and achieve your desired result.
In some English Dictionaries, the French word Papilotte is generally defined by two words together En Papillote as if one ‘in parchment’ that’s two words right? The general idea refers to a style of cooking in a pouch.
Just for curiosity, I checked out Cooking in a Pouch but after three pages of internet headlines, I saw none that transferred back to the term En Papillote.
En Papillote in the US is a common restaurant usage to describe the technique of using parchment paper, greasing it, then filling it with typically fish or vegetables and rolling the edges tightly in a somewhat semicircle shape resembling one side of a butterfly wing. The ingredients in the pouch baked in the oven cook by steaming, locking in the juices and moist flavors.
The Free Online Dictionary uses the word Papillote singularly in a definition also shared by some, not all, as the frilly paper that tops the meat on chops or a crown roast.
The Oxford French Dictionary purchased on a visit to Oxford, England many years ago inspired me that R&B Singer Chaka Khan best shared the definition soulfully in her song, Papillon, AKA Hot Butterfly informing us that Papillon in French means Butterfly.
The other Oxford Dictionary definition for Papillon is a parking ticket.
Think about this, suppose you go on a trip to France with your little Oxford Dictionary and En Papillote something, something fish and vegetables are the Plat du jour. You open up your little French Dictionary to the French to English half and wonder if they are serving butterfly, certainly not the other choice, a parking ticket.
Ironically, the logical choice might be to move your finger right up to the word above, drum roll…it is the word ‘papier’ listing everything from parchment paper, to wrapping paper to kitchen paper and aluminum foil. Aha, La Paris you think to yourself what a genius I am choosing to visit this culinary bastion, where they serve vegetables with Hot Butterfly cooked in paper.
It certainly is interesting to see how word definitions, concepts, and variations transfer between languages. In my case, this all started due to a small interruption sidetracking me to pull out a long sheet of aluminum foil instead of parchment paper for your Tilapia En Papillote with fresh herbs, wine and onions. I wondered if I should technically call this dish En Papillote wrapped in aluminum foil. The answer is yes, the wrapping after all did look like a big Butterfly Wing.