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One French word: agrume, a French recipe: dorade en papillotte au beurre d’agrumes

Dorade au beurre de clémentine

Agrume, masculine noun (un agrume, l’agrume, des agrumes)=citrus fruit or tree (pronounced a-grum (see this post on pronouncing the sound u in French).

Les agrumes – the group of fruits most widely produced throughout the world. Fresh, delicious, varied, full of vitamins. Where would we be without them. Throughout the winter in the northern hemisphere, we eat kilos of clémentines each week, easy to peel and excellent for winter health. The very smell of the oils that escape when I peel one reminds me of Christmas.

My recipe for today is for a beurre d’agrumes, or more exactly a beurre à la clémentine to accompany a fillet of fish cooked en papillotte (in a little parcel). I have chosen dorade  which I think equates to snapper in the US, sea bream in the UK.

Dorade en papillotte

For 4 people you will need:

  • 4 fillets of fish
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • a bunch of fresh coriander
  • 100gr soft salted butter
  • 4 tangerines
  • salt, pepper

Ingredients for the beurre d’agrumes


  1. Prepare the butter an hour beforehand, so that it has time to become hard again in the fridge: with a zester, remove the peel from the 4 washed tangerines. Remove the pulp from 8 segments without crushing so that there is not too much juice. Chop finely two heaped teaspoons of coriander leaves. Add a good tsp per portion of soft butter but do not mix yet.  Grind black pepper over these ingredients and add a little salt. Mix delicately rather than mashing, so that you do not release the juice. Form into four little pats and put in the fridge or freezer to harden.
  2. Pre heat the oven at 160°C.
  3. Prepare 4 large squares of aluminium foil or greaseproof paper.
  4. Place a fillet of fish on each square, with half a dozen coriander stems and leaves and a peeled clove of garlic sliced in three. Top with a small piece of butter. Do not season the fish, the seasoning is all in the butter. Fold securely into a little parcel.
  5. Cook in the pre heated oven for about 15 minutes depending on the size of your fillet.
  6. Remove from the papillotte, leaving behind the cooking juices. Garnish with a pat of tangerine butter and serve with new potatoes.

The flavour is very delicate and goes well with most white fish that do not have a strong taste. And with a glass of Chardonnay, of course.

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

6 responses »

  1. originalapplejunkie

    are these all your recipes?? :D

  2. Yes! Of course no one totally invents anything. But a lot of these recipes I’ve been doing for years, or I just look in the fridge, and invent from what’s sitting there. Or I go to market, see a nice piece of fish and create something around it. This last post was pure experiment, but turned out really well. What I do is shop, cook, photograph, sit down and eat what I’ve cooked. If I’m completely satisfied, I publish, if not I either start all over again, or keep the photos if they are pretty, or tweak the recipe (more salt, less garlic). Food is my main preoccupation in life, so I have an endless stock of ideas.

    • originalapplejunkie

      It’s mine too..
      I can cook all day :)
      I also experiment a lot..and it always (well most times) turns out okay..then like you said I can tweak it for next time :)
      I’m extremely inspired :P

  3. Have to try your beurre d’agrumes! I would never have thought of that combination myself. Caroline, if you would use the butter with something vegetarian instead of the fish, what would you choose? Coriander is not a very common herb here, I use it mostly when I want an asian touch.

    • You could use it on pasta, with parmesan. Or on a green vegetable risotto, like peas or broad beans maybe. On baby French beans.
      You coud use flat leaved parsley instead of coriander. But not basil that would be in competition for the tangerine flavour.


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