Chef's Recipes

Snapper and clams en papillote with tarragon beurre blanc

Recipe for snapper and clams en papillote with tarragon beurre blanc from Les Bistronomes restaurant in Canberra.

  • 40 mins preparation
  • 50 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Snapper and clams en papillote with tarragon beurre blanc
"The snapper en papillote at Les Bistronomes is so good I make up excuses to go to Canberra so I can have it. Any chance I can have the recipe?"
Barbara Nash, Seaforth, NSW
To request a recipe, email or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.


  • 2 whole snapper (800gm each), cleaned
  • 12 diamond-shell clams (see note)
  • To serve: steamed kipflers tossed in a brown butter and chopped flat-leaf parsley
Tarragon beurre blanc
  • 375 ml dry white wine
  • 1 golden shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 each thyme sprig and fresh bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon, stalks reserved
  • 1 small star anise
  • ½ tsp each white peppercorns, fennel seeds and coriander seeds
  • 50 ml pouring cream
  • 250 gm cold butter, cut into 2cm dice
Saffron leeks
  • 50 gm butter, diced
  • 3 leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthways and thinly sliced
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) pouring cream


  • 1
    For tarragon beurre blanc, bring white wine, shallot, thyme, bay leaf, tarragon stalks, star anise, white pepper, fennel and coriander seeds to the boil in a large saucepan and reduce to 75ml (10-15 minutes). Strain into a clean saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, then whisk in cream. Reduce heat to very low and gradually whisk in butter a piece at a time until thick and smooth, then stir in tarragon leaves and season to taste. Keep warm.
  • 2
    For saffron leeks, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and saffron, season to taste, reduce heat to low and sauté, stirring occasionally, until almost tender (2 minutes). Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender (2-3 minutes). Set aside.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180C. Place a sheet of foil large enough to enclose one of the snapper on a work surface and top with a sheet of baking paper. Spread half the saffron leeks in the centre to cover an area slightly smaller than the fish, then top with a snapper, half the clams and cover with half the beurre blanc. Place another sheet of baking paper on top, cover with another sheet of foil, then fold edges around fish to enclose and seal well. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make a second parcel. Bake on a tray until a thermometer inserted into the parcel reads 52C or a skewer inserted is warm to hot when touched to your lips (28-30 minutes). Open parcels carefully as hot steam will escape and serve fish from parcel with potatoes.


Note Diamond-shell clams are available from fish markets and select fishmongers.