Recipe: Fork-tender fish in parchment

by Matt Erickson
May 30, 2017

Parchment Fish

This recipe is from the Whole Foods website.

Cooking fish sealed inside packets of parchment paper imbues it with flavor and makes for easy cleanup. In France, they call this cooking method en papillote. At our cooking class, we used cod, which is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein (like many other types of fish). But you could also use salmon, arctic char, tilapia or catfish.

Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless, skin-on or skinless fish fillets (6 oz. each)
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, lime or orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary or flat-leaf parsley)
  • 1/2 cup any of the following (your choice): Kalamata olives (pitted and halved), tomatoes (finely chopped), green onions (thinly sliced), zucchini (grated) or carrots (grated)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Now tear off one 13-inch length of parchment paper for each of your fish fillets (or, if you want to conserve paper, you can use one piece of parchment for every two fillets). Now fold each piece of parchment in half and cut it into a heart, just as you did in grade school.

Parchment

Place each fillet in the center of one half of the heart-shaped parchment, so you can fold the other half on top of it. Season the fish with some salt and pepper, and drizzle it with the olive oil. Lay your citrus slices on top of the fish and sprinkle your herbs on top. (If you want, you can just throw in whole sprigs instead of chopping the herbs – that’s what we did!) If you’re using additional ingredients for added flavor, scatter them around the fish.

Parchment Fish

Now it’s time to seal your fish inside the parchment. First, spread a little bit of oil around the edges of your parchment heart -- this will help maintain the seal. Then fold the other half of your parchment over on top of the fish, then crimp the edges to seal. You want to be sure no steam escapes. You can just make a series of tight folds, like this:

Parchment Fish

Place your wrapped parchment packets on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast them until the fish is just cooked through. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes for tilapia or other thin fillets, up to 14 to 16 minutes for salmon and other thick fillets.

When the fish is cooked, simply transfer your parchment packets to plates. Unwrap them (be careful as the steam escapes) and enjoy.

Here’s a printer-friendly PDF of this recipe. And here it is condensed to fit on your phone or tablet screen:

Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless, skin-on or skinless fish fillets (6 oz. each)
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, lime or orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary or flat-leaf parsley)
  • 1/2 cup any of the following (your choice): Kalamata olives (pitted and halved), tomatoes (finely chopped), green onions (thinly sliced), zucchini (grated) or carrots (grated)
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Tear off a 13-inch length of parchment paper for each fish fillet, and cut each length into a heart shape.
3. Place each fillet on one half of its parchment. Season it with salt and pepper, and drizzle on oil. Lay citrus slices on top, and sprinkle on herbs. Arrange additional ingredients around fish.
4. Fold the unused half of the parchment over on the fish. Rub oil on the edges of the parchment and crimp to seal.
5. Place the parchment packets on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes (thin fillets) or 14 to 16 minutes (thick fillets).
6. When done, transfer the packets to plates. Unwrap with care and enjoy.


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