Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Multiple Attempts at Parchment-Baked Fish

I found this awesome recipe from Chrissy Teigen's blog "So Delushious" for fish en papillote-that's fancy French for "in parchment packet".  I was super excited because my husband is very into healthy fish dishes.  Even though he's Italian, he prefers not to have pasta for dinner (Yes, I find this disturbing).

It is SO freaking easy. And I'll prove it to you with my take on the original recipe.


*a filet of fish (fluke, red snapper, mahi-mahi are good)
*3 fresh shiitake mushrooms
*2-inch long chunk of ginger
*8 cloves of minced garlic
* 2 Serrano peppers, finely chopped (I also added jalapeƱos)
*1 small zucchini
*parchment paper
*Regular or toasted sesame oil
*salt and black pepper (and white pepper if you want to add this)
*1 small bunch of scallions
*8-10 sliced grape tomatoes.


If you are using a frozen filet, make sure you defrost that first. I used fresh red snapper the first time, but we have been using frozen mahi-mahi from Costco these days.

The next step is for the mushroom broth. Before adding the mushrooms, you will heat water in the pot until it simmers. For the amount of water, think barely enough to cover the mushrooms. Turn off the stove and THEN introduce the mushrooms to their hot bath. Place them stems up to submerge the heads.  Ahhhh....nice.  You're going to let the mushrooms soak for 30 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms, squeeze out the juices, and set aside.

A good time to cut up the veggies is while the mushrooms were marinating in the water.  Mince the garlic and ginger. Chop up the hot peppers.  Slice the zucchini, tomatoes, and scallions. The zucchini should ideally be 1/4 inch thick.

Heh heh.

Preheat your oven to 425 F.

Now for the parchment paper. You need to estimate enough room for your filet and about 1/4 inch bordering the fish.  This should accommodate the puffing up from the steam and leaving enough paper to pleat/fold around the fish. Then double that amount of parchment paper because you will be laying the fish on the paper and then folding the other half over the fish like a book. Huh? Don't worry, I provide a visual aid in a minute.

After the parchment paper is set, add some sesame oil to the surface area of where the fish would be chilling. Then sprinkle garlic, ginger, scallions and hot peppers on top of the oil.  You will be needing more of these ingredients for toppings so don't go too crazy.

Place the zucchini slices on top of the bed of veggies.  Add salt and pepper.

Time for the fish!  Place your fish across the zucchini,  and sprinkle on more salt and pepper. And white pepper if you have it!

Then add some more ginger, garlic, hot peppers, and scallions on top of the fish.

This photo shows how I set up the parchment paper. You should leave a bit more space than I did on the edges widthwise. You see how the paper would be folded over.

For the filet below, I lay it on the parchment paper prepared to fold along the short edge.  Either way works.  Think landscape as opposed to portrait.

Now add the tomatoes on top. I'm telling you, tomatoes bring some awesome tangy flavor to this dish.

Now go to your mushroom broth and add a splash of mirin with some salt and pepper.  Add spoonfuls of this newly jazzed up broth onto the fish. Slice up the mushrooms that you had set aside and add them on top of the fish. Slice up the mushrooms heads only, not the stem. I don't know why I have a stem sitting on top of my fish. Amateur move.

Spoon up more of that mushroom broth. Splash, splash.  Sprinkle, sprinkle (yes, that's the salt and pepper).  I found some cilantro in the fridge and used it.  It didn't really add anything for me so I didn't include it in the recipe, but you may like it.

The wrapping of the fish. Chrissy's blog referenced this video for guidance on how to fold the paper. The vid has some good points on sealing the paper with egg wash when using wine/liquids in the "package".

All I did was some hybrid pleatng/rolling up the paper going around the fish little by little.  Look, it ain't pretty. But it works.  I've been making some liquidy ass fish packages, and nothing has dripped out so far.

Stick this in the oven.
For the mahi-mahi from Costco that are 4-8 oz, I butterfly one portion and lay them as one long filet in a parchment package.  I bake that for 15 minutes. For something half the size, bake for 8-10 minutes.


Sharing that filet with my husband.

The filets and amount of vegetables increased to RIDICULOUS sizes.
My parchment paper packets now are basically huge empanadas.

I would bake the above gargantuan packages for 15 minutes on this one tray.  Each package contained a 4-8 oz mahi-mahi butterflied filet.

Instead of my packets just getting bigger, I'm working on making my parchment fish better.  It'd also be nice to be able to prepare this dish from memory. The last time I tried to not look at the recipe, it ended in me realizing that I forgot the ginger.

 I love how healthy and zesty this tastes. The peppers give it a wonderful kick.  So tasty while being light enough for an evening meal.

Feel free to experiment with this dish! Think of this as the "standard" recipe. But if you like a certain flavor a lot and want more of that, add more of that ingredient! Like I said, my "toppings" are out of control now. Just remember to adjust the size of your parchment paper for the height!


This recipe was a divorce instigator/marriage savior for Andrew and me. How did it cause strife? First of all, couples in NYC should not even entertain the cute idea of cooking together in their tiny, claustrophobic kitchen. All hell WILL break loose. And there will be lots of elbows, irritated sighing, and passive-aggressive "Noo, let ME get out of YOUR way".  With the elevated tension, stupid arguments like this occurred:

Me: "Shit. We needed to save some of the veggies for the top of the fish."
Andrew: "Well, why didn't Chrissy write that??"
Me: "I don't know! Maybe she was drinking! She likes to drink while cooking." (This is true.)
Andrew: "But we DO want some on top!"
Me: "Okaaaay, don't blame Chrissy! She DID mention adding leftover veggies on top. We just don't have any. UGH, we should have read this more carefully!"

We are so dramatic, guys. We definitely wanted to throw each other out of the kitchen window.

Woosah. After successfully defending Chrissy and scooping some layers of veggies from underneath the fish onto to the top, Erica and Andrew got to enjoy what is now Andrew's favorite fish dish.  I am SO SO happy that I found this recipe.  Because Andrew loves it so much, I don't think he realizes that I don't know how to cook anything else. It's a wifey win. 

We still do not dare cook together in that kitchen. Ever.

For more delicious recipes and funny posts from Chrissy Teigen, check out her blog
I pre-ordered her book Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat from Amazon. So excited!

If you like the idea of making more easy parchment packet meals, here are some awesome parchment packet cooking recipes from HuffPost's "Dinner in a Bag" article.

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