Beautiful, fresh and steaming with aromas and flavor, cooking fish in parchment is a special way to entertain guests. This Steamed Cod in Parchment with spinach, potatoes and mushrooms is a fun-filled meal.
Steaming fish in parchment is a tasty and healthy way to enjoy seafood. Outstanding flavor is just one of the benefits of cooking with this method. It’s also a great way to entertain. The parchment paper pouches can be prepared a few hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until time to cook. With everything prepared in advance, it’s easy on you as the host and clean up is a breeze.
And it’s fun for your guests as they tear open their own special meal. The flavorful steam rises towards the palate as the beautiful and fresh meal inside is revealed. This photo is a simpler version of cod, potatoes, spinach and fennel.
Here are a few tips for successful parchment seafood meals:
- Select a firm fleshed fish such as cod or halibut.
- Pre-cook some of the denser items, like potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. With a short cooking time in the pouch, not all ingredients will steam as quickly and beautifully as delicate fish.
- Parchment meals need a small amount of oil. A small pat of butter works well for each packet.
- A splash of white wine adds flavor flair and a hint of acid. Wine adds acidity and sweetness to the final flavor. Like salt, alcohol brings out the flavor in food. But don’t add too much, it will make the parchment soggy.
- Don’t ever try this with red meat. It will only turn gray and unappealing in appearance and texture. Stick with seafood or chicken.
- Think about color when selecting ingredients. Steaming will keep vegetables vibrant.
- Always add a slice of citrus. Lemon, or lime or even orange with Salmon is good.
- When purchasing parchment paper, I suggest buying sheets as opposed to roles. The rolled paper is hard to manage, due to curling. I’ve included an affiliate link to browse selections.
How to fold parchment paper for a meal:
Take a sheet of 24″ x 16″ parchment paper and tear it in half. This will make two parchment meals, finished size 16″ x 12.” I purchased this package of parchment at a restaurant supply store. I’ve also purchased Kroger brand sheets that are 10 3/4 x 15 inches. These sizes are a good guide for your meal. Place your parchment meal ingredients in the middle. Fold the parchment paper over the food. Starting in a corner at the fold, make a tight crimp. Then continue to fold the paper over itself to make a sealed packet.
Place on a sheet pan and bake.
- 1 small bunch fresh spinach stems removed
- 4 medium new potatoes cleaned and thick sliced
- 4 large mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 red onion peeled and cut into rings
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 12 yellow cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 6-ounce Cod or Halibut Filets 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided into 4 pieces
- 4 splashes white wine about 1/4 teaspoon per packet
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 slices fresh lemon thin sliced
Lay out 4 sheets of parchment paper. The size should be approximately 16" x 12"
Rinse and remove the spinach leaves from the stems. Dry before placing them on the parchment paper.
In a saucepan, boil the potatoes until par-boiled, half done. About 7 - 10 minutes. Drain, let cool and thick slice. Watch them carefully, you don't want them cooked all the way, they'll become mushy when steamed if cooked too long.
Heat a fry pan over medium high heat. Add oil and when oil is hot add In a sauce pan, add sliced mushrooms and rings of red onion. Cook until the onion starts to turn opaque and the mushrooms have given up their moisture. About 3 minutes.
Place the fresh spinach leaves on each parchment paper sheets. Top with a fish filet, seasoned to your liking. I used Old Bay for this version.
Top each filet with a slice of the lemon, and a sprig of rosemary. Sprinkle on the onions and mushrooms, evenly on each pouch meal. Add the potatoes and the tomatoes. Top each with a pat of butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add a small splash of white wine over each meal.
Fold the parchment paper over the food and start crimping the edges over each other to seal.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pouch meals on a baking sheet. Cook 10 - 12 minutes.
I’m a sucker for pouch meals. Here are some more ideas: