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
- 12 ounces white fish filets, I used two 6-ounce trout filets
- 2 blood oranges
- 2 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, I used blood orange olive oil
- 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.
I have a well documented obsession with blood oranges…
Questions and Reviews
I’m sure which I prefer, trout or salmon but they both rank very highly in this household. What a beautiful way to prepare it. Your photos are lovely!
So pretty and creative Sue – and that trout looks wonderful. We used to camp in Tennessee along the Tellico River. My husband and son would fish for trout early in the morning and we would have it fresh for breakfast sealed in a foil bag over an open fire. We usually used potatoes and onions but never thought to add citrus. I have to try this! I adore everything about it – especially the memories!
Trout for breakfast – I love it!
I so through A LOT of parchment paper, every time I use the oven I line the baking pans with it! This is another great use of parchment paper – en papiollote! Make a healthy and yummy fish that doesn’t stick to the pan. Orange and thyme flavors go great with fish – perfect recipe!
I go through a lot of it, too Melanie, it’s pretty convenient.
I’m working with blood oranges today, aren’t they the prettiest? I love these flavors and cooking fish in parchment is the only way to go!
Only you could make a fish fillet look so beautiful Sue! My husband would go crazy over this. I don’t make enough fish (I think it’s due to growing up in the Midwest) and it’s his favorite thing to order at a restaurant. The kids and I always laugh and say if there’s fish on the menu, dad will be sure to order it! I definitely need to make this for him, thanks!
Hah — that’s a lot better than with my husband – he always orders the most outrageous thing on the menu — brains, liver, etc. 🙂
A work of art! GREG
I am super hyped that it’s blood orange season again! There’s so much you can do with them. This looks lovely- happy new year, Sue! xo
I used to go fly fishing with my dad in upstate New York when I was a kid. If I’d know we could do this with what we caught I might have tried a little harder! Yum!
Just picked some of my blood oranges and am going to a store for fish tonight!! Thanks so much for this one.
Hope you enjoy it, aren’t blood oranges great?
Wait, did you say you picked your own blood oranges? Now I’m jealous…
Yes I have my own blood orange also a satsuma tree in my backyard. Love being able to going out and picking the beautiful fruit. Just tried your recipe using wild rockfish filets, very good. I think the next time I will add some orange zest over the fish and there will be a next time.
Great idea to use the zest, I should have thought of that!
A huge yes to this. Blood Orange Twins!
Blood oranges are epic!