HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Easy and elegant fish recipe?

I'm trying to find an elegant yet easy fish/shellfish entree for a dinner party. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. baking (steaming really) in parchment paper is elegant and interesting. Can add anything to it that you like. Citrus, fennel, spinach, any vegetables really that will cook in the same time as the fish. Little white wine if you want. Really great for parties, more difficult to cook dry fish and overcook, and can put in whatever seasonal flavours you want, and works well with many types of fish.

    Can do individual packages or one or two larger ones

    2 Replies
    1. re: TeRReT

      I agree 100% with TeRReT. I think individual packages are especially nice when presented on a plate with the parchment creatively torn open right before service.

      1. re: TeRReT

        Alton Brown has a recipe for Red Snapper en papillote (pah-pee-YOHT) - easy and delish.

      2. I love this one...Red Snapper, Veracruz Style. You can use any white fish and I usually skip the jalapenos.


        2 Replies
        1. re: valerie

          Yes, the Veracruz style is good and I like that you can prepare the sauce base ahead of time, then all you need to do is bake the fish and serve. In addition to the ingredients the Epi recipe calls for I add a good amount of red and/or green bell pepper strips. Fish Veracruz is a family favorite around here. I have never put raisins in it, I'll have to try that.

          1. re: InspectorJon

            you can also add currants instead - i tend to prefer them over raisins in savory dishes.

        2. This is my go to fish dinner for guests. Simple and delicious. just look at all the reviews. I have even made it with chicken. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... . Even if you do not use it for this occasion please try it at some point. On a similar note i am having a dinner party this weekend. I am serving seared Halibut over a warm lentil salad with a drizzle of hollendaise. I would have done the tuna dish but I have already served it to most of the group coming. Good luck!

          2 Replies
          1. re: ctfoodie

            ctfoodie - Wow - that epicurious recipe really looks delicious - i saved it to my recipe box. thanks for recommending it!

            1. re: smilingal

              YEAH on that Pan Seared Tuna with Ginger Shiitake cream sauce...hooo-ee! That is a MAGICAL dish--restaraunt quality for little effort, though ingredients can be expensive. Absolutely stellar...good call ctfoodie!

          2. The easiest way to make a fish dish elegant for me is to think of plating (but I also like the parchment idea).

            I think a nicely pan seared thick piece of white flakey fish served over a shallow "pool" of asparagus puree is beautiful and elegant.

            My asparagus puree is basically a slightly (and only slightly - you don't want it thick) thicker version of an asparagus veloute (essentially asparagus sauted with a little shallot, then boiled with chicken stock until very soft, pureed in a blender until smooth - taste for salt - you can find many versions on the web for more details).

            I serve it in shallow bowls (coupe plates). I've also done this same thing with the asparagus veloute, a pile of very buttery rich mashed potatoes in the center, and seared scallops. Simple - elegant - tasty.

            1. I agree that the parchment paper makes a nice presentation and isn't often done. You could also do an old-fashioned shrimp newburg in puff pastry shells. Or shrimp in a veloute wrapped in crepes and topped with Hollandaise (kind of a shellfish Crepes a la Reine). Sounds more complicated than it is because many of the components can be done in advance.

              1. Thanks very much for the excellent suggestions! I think we'll go with the fish in parchment, but now I have several great recipes to try as well. Thanks!

                2 Replies
                1. re: LillianB

                  Yes, they all sound good, but I think you'll enjoy parchment. I love this method, and you can put so much inside. Depending on whats in season, I usually put a clove of garlic in and slices of citrus, but have used fennel, slices of peaches or nectarines are good in the summer with mild fish, or just herbs or anything!

                  1. re: LillianB

                    I had a guest try to eat the parchment once. He thought it was pastry. It's funny in retrospect, but at the time it was awkward. I'd suggest announcing as you serve it that it is fish baked in parchment paper.

                  2. I've had success with baked fish covered with breadcrumbs. Preheat the oven to 375 degres. Mix together panko breadrumbs, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Spread the crumb mix on the fish and bake for 12 -15 minutes dependiing on the thickness of the fish. The breadcrums will be a beautiful deep golden brown and the fish will be perfectly cooked. Believe me, you and your guests will love it.

                    1. At some point, it might be fun to try salt baking a fish. It's not as hard as it looks and the fish is truly delicious. I like to do it with sea bass. It's an impressive main course but pulling the salt off the baked fish while really fun, might not qualify as 'elegant.' Enjoy your dinner!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JeremyEG

                        I was at a fishing lodge this summer and learned about an interesting recipe that the chef there came up with. He says to take equal parts of whipping cream and champagne (can substitute sparkling wine or prosecco), and use it to poach fillets of halibut. After the fish is done (opaque), put on a serving dish and keep warm, then reduce the sauce down til it is thickened and pour over the fish. It is supposed to be spectacular. I would imagine it would be nice placing the fish over some wilted greens and serve with a rice pilaf. I plan to make this soon!

                        1. re: sstrathdee

                          This must be the recipe http://www.langara.com/content/champa... - what a beautiful spot to go fishing!
                          It sounds so good. I bet a bit of saffron would be a nice addition too.

                          1. re: EM23

                            Yes! it was wonderful....my hubby caught a 95lb halibut and I won the women's fishing derby with a 37.5 lb chinook (king) salmon. Adding saffron is a great idea...thanks for the tip.

                      2. Poached salmon in white wine. Cucumber, dill, caper, and sour cream sauce. .Arranged on a platter with fine chopped boiled eggs, fine chopped dill fonds, fine chopped red onion, and few shaved pieces of high quality smoked salmon. Side dish roasted root vegetables. Creamed squash soup. Field green salad with balsamic dressing. Nice chilled white wine.

                        1. My top 3 picks would be:

                          - en papillote with capers, lemon, tomatoes, vermouth
                          - salt-crust
                          - mirin/miso glazed