Baked Flounder in Parchment Paper with Tomatoes and Pesto is refreshing, herbaceous, and easy enough to whip up on weeknights.
It’s the weekend! Finally. This week felt long. But the weather has warmed up, and we were actually able to saunter out onto the deck barefoot to enjoy this fresh NC flounder cooked in parchment.
Fish baked in parchment paper is honestly one of the best ways to cook fish. It’s almost impossible to mess up, and the presentation is really damn pretty.
Cooking fish at home is intimidating for a lot of people. For one, it can dry out easily which leaves you with an awful texture. Further to that, fish can lack flavor if under-seasoned—much like chicken. Depending on where you live, many restaurants are knocking fish dishes out of the park these days. The first thing I look for on menus anymore is salmon. (So good!) But you can totally achieve this kind of fish dinner at home, and this parchment method is the perfect place to start.
Because the fish is steamed in parchment packets, it comes out super tender and moist. The other plus is that you end up with loads of flavor. Snuggled into a pouch with fresh herbs, vegetables, butter, and wine, your fillet absorbs all of those aromatics.
A little serving tip…
If you’ve never been introduced to the concept of fish steamed in parchment, or fish en papillote, the best way to plate it is closed up in its parchment pack. You and your guests can then open up your own individual packets right there at the table, taking in the fresh aromas that rise up with the steam. (It’s a treat, let me tell ya.)
It’s also super easy to play around with flavor combinations!
Preparing fish in parchment, even just once, will open your mind to numerous possibilities. Let the inspiration flow! Two of my favorite ways to prepare this dish is with these Mediterranean flavors, and this soy and ginger combo.
The perfect side dish for a main like this, in my mind, is anything fresh and seasonal. These braised fingerling potatoes with fresh herbs would be perfection. I’m also super inclined to braise some spring vegetables soon. I just happened to stumble upon Splendid Table’s podcast episode on braising veggies from last year and I am *so* into that idea.
However you serve it, I hope you love it.
Have an amazing weekend!
If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you. Then snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme and be featured in our newsletter.
Baked Flounder in Parchment Paper with Tomatoes and Pesto
- 2 6 oz fillets of flounder This recipe would work with any mild white fish, and even salmon!
- Sprinkle of kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 TBSP basil pesto
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved or sliced
- 1 TBSP dry white wine
- 1 tsp butter
- A few thinly sliced rings of red onion, halved
- 2 TBSP fresh basil leaves
- 4 strands of cooking/butcher's twine, about 5" in length
- 2 pieces of parchment paper, about 13" wide
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Remove fish from packaging, pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and set aside on a plate.
- Cut the parchment into two segments — one segment per fish. The size of the parchment depends on the size of your fillets, but you should be fine with a piece of parchment that measures approximately 13" wide.Lay each segment down on a flat surface. Place one fillet in the center of each parchment paper (skin side down if there's skin).
- Slather 1 TBSP of pesto over each fillet, then top with tomatoes and onions. Drizzle the white wine over the fillets and drop 1/2 tsp of butter onto each fillet.
- Once everything is in place, take one of the sides of your parchment and fold it over the fish. After that, grab the other side, and fold it over enclosing the fish. Twist the ends of the parchment one at a time, securing each one by tying butchers twine around it. (See notes for very specific instructions for making parchment packs.)
- Place the parchment packs onto a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque, flaky, and has an internal temperature of 145° F.