How to Bake Fish in Parchment

Kim Conte
1

I love fish, but I hate cooking it. I never know when it's done cooking; it falls apart in the pan when I try to flip it over; and, boy, is it smelly! Plus, Mr. Cafe Kim is allergic to fish and hates the lingering odor after I cook it. Do you see what I mean? Cooking fish just doesn't seem worth all the trouble!

At least that's what I thought until I learned the technique of baking fish in parchment paper. It's simple, mess-free, easy on the nose, and best of all...delicious!

By creating a little packet or pouch out of parchment paper, you can steam fish in the oven so it turns out moist and flavorful. Just add your favorite seasonings (garlic, green onions, lime, fennel, herbs, etc.), seal the packet, and bake! Here's how to do it:

Fish Baked in Parchment With Lemon and Herbs (serves 4)

4 6-oz. fillets of fish (almost any type will work: cod, halibut, sole, grouper, tilapia. I used bass because it was on sale.)

Butter

4 tablespoons fresh or dried herbs (I used fresh dill.)

Salt

Pepper

4 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 red onion, diced small

1 lemon, thinly sliced

Juice from one lemon

Olive oil

4 large squares of parchment paper, about 15inches X 15 inches

Butter the center of one square of parchment paper. Place one fillet on parchment paper, covering the buttered center. Season with 1 tablespoon herbs, salt, pepper, and 1/4 of lemon juice. Top with diced garlic and onion. Cover with lemon slices. Drizzle with olive oil.

Now fold the parchment into a pouch around the fish. One way to do this: Grab the side nearest you and the side farthest from you and bring them together. Fold sides together and continue folding/rolling until you are about an inch away from the fish. Now, fold the two open sides (to the right and left) under the fish. The fish should be completely covered and it's juices contained; however, it shouldn't be too tight. You want the steam to be able to flow around the fish so that it's cooked evenly. 

Repeat with remaining fillets. Place all four pouches on baking sheet lined with foil, just in case some of the juices escape.

Bake at 400 for 13-17 minutes until fish is flaky and cooked through.

Have you ever cooked fish in parchment? What seasonings do you like to use?

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