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Jan 11, 2009 07:19 AM

Fish in parchment paper -- recipes please!

I've eaten various fish-baked-in-parchment-paper dishes at restaurants and would like to make it at home. I always get nervous about "ruining" fish when I cook it, so I think this would be an easy and healthy way for me to venture into fish cooking.

Can anyone share recipes and techniques, please? My husband and I love salmon and most white fish. The only fish I am really not a fan of is Chilean sea bass, but we're pretty open otherwise, and would love some suggestions for vegetables and spices to bake with the fish.


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  1. I made this, it was pretty good:

    Makes 4 servings
    1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
    4 6-ounce salmon fillets
    1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
    4 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    2 lemons, halved

    Adjust oven racks to the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place 1 piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the potatoes on the paper. Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil or sprinkle with the butter. Roast in top of oven until fork-tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, place the remaining parchment on a work surface. Place 1 fillet on each. Top with the asparagus, scallions, and tarragon. Drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and season with the remaining salt and pepper. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over each fillet and place the squeezed lemon on top. Pull the sides of the paper over each fillet, folding several times to seal the rectangular parcels. Place them on a baking sheet. Bake on the lower rack for 25 minutes while the potatoes finish cooking. (Although you can't check for doneness, this is ample time for the salmon to cook through.) Place a packet on each plate and cut open. Serve with the potatoes.

    1. i often do this in a paper bag i brush w/ olive oil and staple shut.

      fish, salt, pepper, a few aromatics &veggies - thinly sliced, maybe some citrus slices, some herbs... then bake - i find a half hour to 45 minutes is more than enough foe most fillets

      1. Wow, NOT a fan of Chilean sea bass? I didn't know such people existed. ;-)

        Anyway, I was walking around the Korean market in my old neighborhood when I had this brainstorm.

        (serves one)

        - 1-2 teaspoons sriracha (chili paste) or to taste
        - 2-4 ounces beer, preferable a lager, plus more to cook with
        - 4-6 ounces fish (see note)

        - 1 small white onion (not sweet), sliced into strips (not rings)
        - 2 teaspoons mirin (sweet sake) or rice vinegar
        - 2-3 dashes of salt, plus more to taste

        - 1-2 teaspoons olive oil, to drizzle

        - 1 baby bok choy, washed and trimmed (use green parts only)
        - 1 plum tomato, diced

        - fresh black pepper, to taste

        * Mix the sriracha and beer in a small bowl. In a shallow dish, perhaps even the bowl you mixed the beer and sriracha in, coat the fish thoroughly and cover for twenty minutes, turning and re-basting once if using a steak or simply re-basting once if using a fillet with skin on one side.

        * Preheat oven to 425

        * Lay out a piece of parchment paper roughly three times as wide as the fish and three times as long as the fish you are using.

        * In a bowl, toss the sliced onion with the mirin (or vinegar) and a couple dashes of salt. Put the tossed onions in the center of the parchment paper in a square or rectangle that's a little larger than your fish; reserve the mirin (or vinegar).

        * Put the fish on top of the onions and baste in the beer and sriracha marinade. Drizzle with olive oil.

        * Crimp the parchment paper so that it holds it shape, resembling a bowl.

        * Place the bok choy in a single layer on top of the fish, cupped sides down (this will serve as a steam canopy)

        * Cover bok choy in diced tomatoes (yes, they will fall off the bok choy, don't worry too much)

        * Pour remaining beer/sriracha marinade over the tomatoes; it will pool on the bottom giving a poaching effect to the fish and a steamed effect to the vegetables. You may deem it necessary to add a couple more ounces of beer here to provide enough liquid to cook with.

        * Pour in reserved mirin (or vinegar) if desired.

        * Fold the parchment paper in on all sides and tie with kitchen twine

        * Place tied packet onto a jelly roll or shallow pan (lest the parchment leak)

        * Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes

        * To serve, place tied packet onto a plate and untie at the table; the rising steam makes a nice presentation. When eating, try to get a little bit of everything in each bite as there is a much better interplay of texture ... and frankly, if you eat each ingredient separately the dish becomes rather bland and one dimensional.


        I believe you could use thin slices of squash (zucchini, yellow) or Japanese eggplant here as well. If you did so, I would probably put the slices on top of the fish, under the bok choy.

        If you don't want to spend the time marinating, you could just baste the fish before cooking but I found the marinating strengthened the flavor.

        I have used salmon and blackfish and think they would work better than something as delicate as sole or trout. Frankly, the salmon wasn't that great, but the blackfish (or similar dense white fish such as swordfish) was very good. When making this, I have used fillets and also steaks; I think steaks are best but you can use either.

        Finally, the olive oil might seem excessive and unnecessary, but I found it added a certain unctuousness to the fish.

        As an Italian/Mediterranean variation, I think you could use onion, fennel, squash, white wine, plum tomatoes, fresh oregano and olive oil and come up with something similar.

        1. Here are a couple of videos showing it being put together. You can Google more. The Martha Stewart one shows the traditional method of sealing the packet. I’ve done this by just adding bottled salsa to the top and a little to the bottom and a little olive oil to the top. I just fold the parchment down like the first lady does and fold the ends under. I think there’s a rule of baking about 10 min. per inch of thickness at about 425.