There isn’t a healthy epithet you can hurl at this Fish with Blood Orange and Thyme in Parchment that doesn’t fit — low calorie, low carb, gluten free, Paleo, low fat, Whole30… and while you’re at it you can throw in beautiful and delicious. It’s great to have in your arsenal of recipes for when you feel the urge to cleanse.
This is a concept I play around with a lot, (remember this lemon herb version?) partly because we love to eat fish, and partly because it’s so fast and easy. Sometimes I’ll layer my fish on top of onions, or fennel, sometimes tomatoes or julienned veggies, but because we’re at the start of citrus season, I’m using gorgeous blood oranges sliced so thinly you can see right through them like stained glass. They’ll perfume my trout with their distinctive berry flavor.
The secret to making a delicious meal out of something as simple as a piece of fish, a blood orange, and a few sprigs of thyme is baking them up en papiollote, or in parchment. It’s a little packet you fold yourself from a big sheet of parchment paper. It keeps all the juices and flavors in and they get a chance to enhance each other. Before wrapping up the package I douse the fish with some really good olive oil, I used my O Blood Orange Olive Oil to emphasize the flavor. This is the minimalist version, but you can layer in veggies if you like, or cooked couscous, rice, or other grains.
You’ll arrange a layer of very thin orange slices on a sheet of parchment paper (you can also use foil.) Top the citrus with sprigs of fresh thyme, and that forms the bed for your fish fillet. Season the fish with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up the parchment like a little paper packet, folding the edges to secure. You don’t need the string, I just did that for the photo 😉
It bakes in a 400F oven for about 20 minutes, and when you tear it open you’ll get a burst of steam and a wonderful aroma. The fish will be perfectly tender and moist…I like to eat it right out of the paper. You can actually eat the thin orange slices, too, if you like. My go to easy sides for this fish are frozen petite peas and couscous.
Fish with Blood Orange and Thyme
- Set oven to 400°F.
- Use a mandoline slicer to slice your oranges into 1/8 inch slices. Remove any seeds.
- Arrange the slices in the middle of two large sheets of parchment paper. Overlap them out so they are about the size of your fish fillet. Top the oranges with fresh sprigs of thyme.
- Lay the fish on top of the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle liberally with olive oil.
- Bring the two long sides of paper up around the fish and roll or fold to secure. Do the same with each end.
- Lay the packets on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. The fish will be steamed perfectly. If you are using thick pieces of fish you may want to check that it is done to your liking.
- Serve immediately sprinkled with some fresh thyme. Remove the cooked thyme if you like.
- I planned to use tilapia for this recipe, but when I got to the market the pieces of tilapia were just huge. I went with beautiful trout fillets instead. When it comes to fresh fish, keep an open mind with a recipe until you see what’s available at the market. Better to go with what looks best rather than stick to a preconceived plan. In this recipe any kind of mild white fish would work, including flounder, sole, halibut, etc. I would not use a strong fish like salmon, swordfish, or tuna because I think they would dominate the delicate flavor of the oranges. Note that if you do substitute a thicker piece of fish your cooking time may vary.
- The oranges should be finely sliced for this, and an inexpensive mandoline slicer does a fantastic job.
- Don’t stress about how to fold up the packet of parchment. The main thing is to get it closed and secure. Crunching it up like a lunch bag is fine.
- I’ve done this with slits cut in the paper and without, and I don’t notice a difference, so I don’t do it.
- Just before serving sprinkle on some fresh herbs.