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
Does this work with any kind of fish
It really can, the cooking time will vary if the fish is extra thick, but you can do it with anything, even whole fish. Shellfish too.
Just made this tonight with paiche fillets, and it turned out beautifully! Thank you for the recipe — saving this one to make again 🙂
Thanks Nicole ~ I’ve never had paiche, I’m going to look for it!
Can I use regular orange instead of blood oranges?
Absolutely, and lemon, too!
Can I use frozen white fish for this?
This looks really impressive, I totally love it. And so simple on top of everything!
I love fish cooked this way and love your idea of adding citrus, especially blood oranges. Yummy.
I just got a huge bag of blood oranges from ALDI!! This looks absolutely delicious and perfect for my dinner.
Lucky you 🙂
We made this tonight with Haddock filets from Aldi’s and alternated with blood and navel oranges. Also used salt, pepper and olive oil on both sides of the fish and a few sprigs on top of the filets before folding up in heavy duty aluminum foil. THIS IS COMPANY WORTHY!
Thank you for another great recipe!!
You’re so welcome Susan, glad it went so well for you!
All the citrus this season has to offer makes me a very happy girl, especially all the blood oranges. Their color alone puts a smile on my face. Paired with fish, thyme and en papiollote = dinner perfection! This needs to be on my table immediately! Pinned! Cheers, my dear!
So LOVE the blood oranges in this dish Sue! Need to try!
So, so beautiful and what a perfect meal! I would just want to sit and stare at it for a bit before I ate it 🙂