“Perfect for Easter – fish in parchment paper is one of the simplest, most flavourful methods of cooking fish. Encased in the packet, the fish steams in its own juices and becomes infused with the flavours of fresh herbs, veggies and lemon juice. Make sure to adequately season (salt) the fish.” – Ria Birju, Cooking With Ria
- 1½ pounds fish preferably whole, about ¾ pound each or 4 (6-ounce) fillets – snapper, cod, porgy, salmon, halibut, sea bass
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4–6 tablespoons green seasoning
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 medium tomato thinly sliced
- ½ large onion thinly sliced
- 4–8 ochros halved lengthwise (optional)
- 1 lemon ½ thinly sliced and the other half for juicing
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
With rack in middle position, preheat oven to 400˚ F or set grill to high.
Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper large enough to generously wrap fish, set aside.
Wash fish thoroughly (remove any stuck on scales] and pat dry. In a bowl, season fish generously with salt, pepper and about 4 tablespoons green seasoning. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, bring fish to room temperature. Place each on parchment paper with 2 sprigs of thyme inside each fish. Layer sliced tomatoes, onion, ochros and lemon slices on each, dividing evenly. Squeeze lemon juice over fish. Drizzle generously with olive oil (or dot with butter). If you wish, add 1 to 2 tablespoons white wine. Finish with another dusting of salt and pepper.
Fold over parchment and form a half-moon packet; beginning at one corner, make small overlapping pleats all the way around to seal edges tightly and prevent steam from escaping. Place packets on a baking sheet and cook until parchment is puffy and brown, about 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the thickness of fish), or until it is cooked through and flakes easily when tested with a fork. If fish is not cooked after opening, reseal and continue to cook, check occasionally.
Immediately place a packet of each on two plates and cut open with kitchen shears (careful, the steam will be very hot). Remove the sprigs of thyme before serving.
Don’t use foil because it reacts with the acids and can cause an unpleasant taste. If using a grill, first wrap the fish in parchment paper and then foil.