Friday, November 12, 2010

Olive & Herb Fish Parcels

Fish Parcels 3, cropped

Here's a post that's short and sweet.  You see, today is a holiday for us here in Christchurch;  it is a glorious, sunny, spring day;  and, I need to spend a bit of time outside instead of at the desk.  These fish parcels, although I actually made them a couple of weeks ago, would be the perfect meal for a day like this - they are light, fresh, and incredibly healthy;  they are easy to make just for one (as I did) or make for a crowd;  you don't need to be too fussy with quantities;  and they can be prepared at least a couple of hours in advance.

This recipe came from the August 2004 edition of ABC Delicious magazine, though I did make a few small changes.  I put some thinly sliced fennel into the parcels, instead of the zucchini which was called for in the original recipe - I love the "aniseed" flavour of fennel, and I especially love it with fish - I thought it was a great success here, but I'm sure the zucchini would also be good.  I also simplified the process a bit - instead of mixing olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and seasonings together to make a dressing, I just drizzled and sprinkled directly over the fish - why dirty a bowl?

So, enough said - I'm going to let the pictures do the talking - I urge you to try this simple, flavourful dish.  Meanwhile, I'm off to enjoy the sunshine.

Olive & Herb Fish Parcels
Adapted from a recipe by Valli Little
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

For each serving you will need:
generous handful of baby spinach leaves
1 boneless, skinless fillet of firm-fleshed fish (I used groper)
thinly sliced fennel bulb or zucchini
handful of black olives

To dress the fish:
extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
lemon juice
freshly grated lemon zest
garlic, finely chopped
fresh mint, finely chopped
fresh basil, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).

For each serving cut a sheet of tin foil approximately 30cm (12 inches) square, and a sheet of baking paper the same size.  Lay them out on your work bench with the baking paper on top of the foil.

Place a good handful of spinach leaves in the centre of each square.

Fish Parcels 8, cropped

Place a fish fillet on top of the spinach.

Fish Parcels 7, cropped

Arrange sliced fennel on top of the fish.

Fish Parcels 6, cropped

Remove stones from the olives (please don't buy already pitted olives - removing the stones is hardly an arduous task and the flavour is so much better), and distribute a generous handful over the top of the fennel.

Fish Parcels 5, cropped

Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Fish Parcels 4, cropped

Drizzle over freshly squeezed lemon juice, and sprinkle over some freshly grated lemon zest and finely chopped garlic.

Lastly, sprinkle over the freshly chopped herbs.

Fish Parcels 2, cropped

Seal up the parcel, place on an oven tray, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through - it is done when it flakes easily when tested with a fork.

To serve, open up the parcel and drizzle with just a little more extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.  I also served this with some crispy potatoes and a fresh salad.  I don't remember exactly, but I'm almost certain that a glass or two of Wither Hills sauvignon blanc may well have accompanied this.

Fish Parcels 1, cropped

I'm submitting this post to Magazine Mondays - mmmm, can't wait to see what else is cooking.  You can find last week's round-up here at "I'll Have What She's Having".


  1. I love fish parcels. I make one quite often with salmon, lemon, capers and fresh dill. Such a delicious way to to eat fish. Yours looks SO good Sue. I love the fennel and olives and the wonderful herbs. Awesome!

  2. This is right up my alley and something I will try. I love olives with fish.

    Enjoy the weather. It's cooold in my neck of the woods.

  3. Oh, goodness, Sue, this is such a wonderful combination of flavors. Love the piquancy of the olives with the sweetness of the fennel.

  4. I love cooking fish in parcels like that. It makes it taste so truly delicious and moist! So good.

  5. Sue - I love fish in parchment and will definately give your a go. It looks luscious! Planned something else for dinner, but just looking at this I may have to drag a filet out of the freezer :-)

  6. This looks great! Drizzling the oil and lemon juice over the fish is a fantastic idea, all the flavours get mixed in sounds really delicious!

  7. Thank you Yesim, and thanks for visiting.

    Oh Brenda - salmon, lemon, capers and dill would be a great combination - in fact, I've got loads of fresh dill right now to use up so I've got to try that. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Hope you enjoy it Lyndsay - the olives are great with the fish. Stay warm :-)

    Thanks Louanne - the olives and fennel were great together and complimented the fish beautifully, both in texture and flavour.

    Joanne - it is a great way to cook fish - really does seal in the flavour and moistness, also very easy to clean up afterwards which is always a bonus :-)

    Thank you so much Maggie - hope you enjoy it.

    Kitchen flavours - thanks a lot - drizzling straight on to the fish made much more sense, especially when I was only making one serving. Probably if you were doing several servings it would be easier to mix all the ingredients together and then pour over each serving.

    Sue :-)

  8. I am so definitely making these! I adore the flavors - the fennel and olive, the garlic and herbs. And I am pathetic when it comes to cooking fish which means I never do. This looks so simple and the result is gorgeous! I have a feeling this will become a favorite meal with us! Thanks so much for posting this for Magazine Monday!

  9. Jamie - thank you for visiting and your lovely comment - I hope you enjoy this dish - it really is very simple and endlessly versatile.
    Sue :-)


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