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Fish in paper

  • 15 minutes
  • 15 minutes
  • 4
Fish in paper

Of all the dishes I serve, I get the most applause for this recipe and it's so simple. There are two secrets, one is to use fresh fish - not defrosted and the second is to cook the fish just before you eat, so the paper casing is full of steam and guests can cut their way through it at the table to reveal wonderful flavours and tender, juicy fish inside.


  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs - lemon thyme, marjoram, parsley, chives
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 fillets fresh fish
  • 4 thin slices of lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • about 2-3 tablespoons white wine
  • baking paper
  • beaten egg white or egg to seal the edges


  1. Blend the herbs and butter together.
  2. Take a long piece of baking paper, about 5cm longer than the fish fillet, and fold lengthwise in half. Cut the paper so that when you fold it open, you have a large heart.
  3. Place one fish fillet on one half of the heart. Spread over a quarter of the butter. Cut one slice of lemon in half and place on top. Season well with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle over a couple of decent drops of wine - about 2 teaspoons per fillet.
  4. Brush the edge of the heart with beaten egg white or egg.
  5. Bring the other side of the paper heart over the top to enclose the fish. Then beginning at one end, fold the edges over twice to join the paper together and to make an airtight seal.
  6. Place on a baking tray and repeat with the remaining fish and ingredients. You can prepare this dish 4-6 hours in advance and store in the fridge.
  7. Bake the fish at 200ºC for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness (a salmon steak will take 15 minutes). Serve the parcels to your guests and allow them to cut through the top with scissors.

Cooks Tips

- This goes well with mashed potatoes and green vegetables in winter. In summer, throw together a crisp salad. - Most fish can be cooked like this, including salmon, snapper or cod. Scallops and prawns may also be used. Variations: - Use a whole boneless, skinless breast of chicken and cook at 190ºC for 25 minutes. - Use whatever herb combination you liek, or just one herb variety, like parsley. If you don't have fresh herbs, then use dried herbs but only half the quantity. - Use differently flavoured butters with fish, for example: curry butter over fish, served with sliced fresh mango, or garlic butter over chicken or fish served with olives and capers, or chive butter with mushrooms and red wine over fish or chicken

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