As far as I know, the idea of cooking fish in paper bags originated in Louisiana. Indeed, some sources say that it was created in Antoine’s famed New Orleans restaurant in the early 1900s in honor of a well-known Brazilian balloonist named Alberto Santos-Dumont, who was served a dish en papillote because the puffed-up bag resembled a balloon.
In Louisiana, each piece of fish is packaged in a sheet of buttered paper, along with a light cream sauce and crabmeat and shrimp. While pompano is often preferred, many other kinds of fish fillets may be substituted, including weakfish, redfish, and salmon.
© 1987 Craig Claiborne estate. All rights reserved.