Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fish in Parchment Paper

Have you ever wondered how they make fish stay moist? Have you ever wanted to make something you know costs lots of money in the restaurant? Then fish cooked in parchment paper is for you.

This truly is an easy recipe. And you can do all sorts of variations to it with vegetables and seasonings. But for my first try I wanted simple.

Fish in Parchment Paper
Recipe courtesy of

1 (6-ounce) firm-fleshed white-fish fillet, such as halibut, cod, or haddock (the fillet should be between 3/4 and 1 1/4 inches thick)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf, cut in half (optional)
Fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley, tarragon, or chervil (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 thin lemon slices
1 tablespoon dry white wine or water

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Draw out a large piece of parchment paper (about 17 by 11 inches) and, with one of the longer edges closest you, fold it in half from left to right. Using scissors, cut out a large heart shape.
  3. Place the fish in the center of one half of the parchment heart. (The heart should be large enough that there is at least a 1-1/2-inch border around the fillet.)
  4. Set the parchment heart on a baking sheet. Drizzle the fish with half of the olive oil, rub the oil all over the fillet, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Lay half of the bay leaf and a few sprigs of herbs (if using) on top of the fish. Break the butter into little pieces and arrange them on top of the herbs.
  6. Place the lemon slices over everything and drizzle with the remaining oil.
  7. Fold the parchment heart over to cover the fish. (The edges of the heart should line up.) Starting at the rounded end, crimp the edges together, folding them over themselves and leaving the last two inches at the pointed end unfolded. Slightly tilt the package up and pour in the wine or water. Finish crimping the edges, then twist the pointed end around once and fold the “tail” under.
  8. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake 10 minutes for a 3/4-inch-thick fillet or 12 minutes for a 1- to 1-1/4-inch-thick fillet.
  9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the parchment package to a dinner plate. Serve immediately, cutting into the parchment tableside using scissors or a knife.
I used a little dried herbs instead of fresh and also just water because I didn't have any wine open. I will definitely be making this again.


  1. It does sound easy and very healthy, too...thanks for sharing it!

  2. We do this all the time. If we don't have parchment time foil works just as well. We use salmon a lot too since it is such a family favorite. We eat fish on Fridays so this is a quick, easy and very nutritious way to make it.

    If you aren't going to open it at the table instead removing and plating the fish in the kitchen you don't have to get all fancy with the paper or tinfoil, don't cut the heat, put the fish in the middle and fold the edges closed, ends included with enough room inside for steam. It should look like a rectangle.

    Congrats on your first go round looks great.Is that rice or cous cous or what on your plate? It looks delicious too. YUM. Can't wait until tomorrow.