Paper-Baked Jalapeño-Ginger White Fish + Zucchini
This juicy, low-fat white fish dinner recipe is baked atop a bed of zucchini and flavored with jalapeño, ginger, garlic and lemongrass, as adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s smash-hit “Cravings.”
In the universe of fancy-pants recipes that sound way harder than they actually are, fish en papillote (French for enveloped in paper) is up there. I’m paraphrasing Chrissy Teigen here, who first penned this fantastic recipe in her first cookbook, Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat, and rocked my world. After preparing it once, I tweaked it slightly to fit my tastes. But mostly, it was a matter of working with what I had on hand in my pantry that day (I was not feeling an extra trip to the grocery store, TBH).
This fish is savory, umami deliciousness and it’s baked on top of zucchini slices, which basically means you have yourself a built-in side dish. A squeeze of lemon, sliced lemongrass stalks and ginger coins lend an incredible brightness, which is complemented by the earthier flavors of baked jalapeño and garlic.
The real star here is Teigen’s coconut milk-soy sauce-sesame oil mixture that’s poured in the parchment paper just before it’s wrapped up and placed in the oven. And all of that flavor is soaked up by the zucchini. Mmmm… Writing about it makes my mouth water.
Teigen used a cod fillet in her recipe, but my fish market had fresh, local Pacific Rockfish for sale that day, so I went with that. Like cod, Rockfish is a mild, lean white fish — some even call it rock cod. But really, you can use any mild-flavored white fish here.
Paper-baked fish is probably my favorite way to prepare fish at home because it stays sooo juicy. If you’re cooking fish uncovered in the oven, you might be stressing about timing it perfectly to ensure the outer layer is moist while the inside is fully cooked. If you’re pan-searing it, you might be worried about burning that outer layer. Neither of these things are issues with paper-baked fish.
Wrapping the fish is a lot easier than it might sound. But if all else fails, fold the paper around the fish as best as you can and tie it with a string. Works like a charm. If you don’t have parchment paper on hand, tinfoil works too, but be careful to grease the foil with butter or oil so no food sticks.
I served this fish with a side of white rice, cooked with the rest of the coconut milk in the can. This just happens to be a recipe in Teigen’s Cravings, but it’s something I’ve been making since college! She likes to add sugar, salt and toasted coconut flakes in hers (and it’s fantastic) but I usually stick to coconut milk and salt.
Happy eating! This is really a delightful recipe — and one that will surely impress your family or friends.
Paper-Baked Jalapeño & Ginger White Fish With Zucchini
- 1 lb white fish such as cod or Rockfish
- 1 large zucchini sliced lengthwise
- ½ spring onion minced
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 jalapeño minced
- 1 lemongrass stalk cut into thirds and halved
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch ginger peeled and cut into coins
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish
- 3 tbsp. canned coconut milk
- 1.5 tbsp. mirin Japanese sweet cooking rice wine, find it in the Asian aisle of your grocery store
- 1 tbsp. Soy sauce
- ½ tbsp. Sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parchment paper/tinfoil
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Tear a sheet of parchment paper or tinfoil about a foot long. On one half, layer sliced zucchini to make a bed for the fish. If you are working with filets, repeat this step for each filet. Squeeze juice of the lemon over the fish and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the fish on the zucchini bed. Top with minced jalapeño, onion and garlic. Layer on ginger coins and lemongrass stalks (don’t eat the stalks, they’re just there to impart flavor).
- Combine the coconut milk, mirin, soy sauce and sesame oil, and pour over the fillet(s).
- Place the other half of the parchment paper over the fish and twist the edges toward you, moving around the perimeter of the parchment paper until you’ve formed a packet.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve.