How To: Fish Baked In Parchment

How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentFood steamed in parchment paper is one of my favorite ways to cook.  Why?  Well, besides the fact that it is an especially healthy method, there is no clean-up!!

The heat, steam, and flavor are trapped inside, resulting in a moist, healthy, and surprisingly quick meal.  The fish melts in your mouth and the veggies are steamed until they are perfectly crisp tender.  Utterly fantastic.  If you are afraid of your whole meal tasting like fish, don’t be!  Somehow everything ends up tasting flavorful, but the asparagus tastes like asparagus, the carrots are sweet, and the fish is tender and fresh.

Mix up your veggies and fish combos to suit what you like!  Zucchini straight from the garden is wonderful here, as is summer squash.  Green beans are great, and even sliced tomatoes on top is sweet and will remind you of summer no matter where you are.  Use oranges instead or lemons or salmon instead of tilapia.  It is the method here that is the key.  Much like Hobo Dinners or Summer Salmon, we are keeping all the tastes of your dinner together to maximize the flavor, keep it healthy, and just make life a little easier.

Fish Baked In Parchment
My kids LOVE this meal because apparently, dinner is much more fun when you get to rip it out of a bag.  You can easily prep these in the morning and bake them later making them perfectly hands off meal for company.  Put a bowl of fresh bread in the middle of the table, pop open a bottle of wine, and you have the easiest, no time needed, clean-up free meal ever!

4 tilapia fillets, about 4 oz each, thawed or frozen
1 lb of fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
2 lemons, sliced into rounds
olive oil
salt and pepper
parchment paper

Here we go!
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentTear off a sheet of parchment 1 1/2-2 feet long.  This all depends on the size of your fish fillet.  Fold it in half and crease it well, making a square of rectangle.
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentStarting at one corner, cut the shape of a half moon or half heart in to the paper with the crease in the middle.  Just like you used to do when making Valentines in Kindergarten!  Those skills are useful once again!  That lemon in the picture was keeping my paper from curling….
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentOpen up the parchment, and in the middle of one side-and a bit toward the crease-lay down your asparagus.
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentLayer your carrots on top…
How To: Fish Baked in Parchment…and season the veggies with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentLay your fish fillet on top.  As you can see, mine was still slightly frozen when I made the packets.  Totally fine.  It only takes another five minutes or so to steam.
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentSeason your fish with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentCover the top of your fish with the lemon slices in one single layer.
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentNow here comes the fun part!  Close your parchment ‘book’ over the fish.  Starting at one side (I have tried it from either end and it works equally well) fold over a section of parchment and crease it well.  You want it at an angle so that the fold goes off the edge.
How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentFold it in 1 1/2 to 2 inch sections, again and again, almost making waves.  This wraps the parchment in on itself, keeping it curled and folded so that it holds together, trapping the steam inside.

How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentContinue around the edge of the packet, making sure to keep the two edges of paper together.

How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentWhen you get to the end, you will have a tail sticking out that could unravel!

How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentFold it down, the opposite way of the your other folds, to crease and hold it in place.

How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentSee?!  A thing of beauty!!  Place it on a sheet pan and slip it into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes for a 1/2 inch, thawed fillet.  If your fish is frozen or especially thick, it may take up to 20.

How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentTo serve, place one packet on each plate.  I like to open the parchment up like I am opening up a lap top, but you can leave the crease in tact if you like and use a scissors or knife to cut a slit in the top.  BE CAREFUL!  That first blast of steam can be a doozy!

How To: Fish Baked in ParchmentServe as is, or with a bowl of steamed rice, quinoa, or couscous to soak up all the wonderful juices on the bottom.  A hunk of whole grain, crusty bread is quite fabulous as well.