Whole Spicy Fish Baked “En Papillote”


  • 0.75 – 1 kg (1.5 – 2 lbs) whole fish such as sea bass, salmon, perch, trout, snapper, etc. (Have your fish monger, gut, scale and clean the fish. Have the fins removed but keep the tail intact.)
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced into 4 equal ring slices
  • 1 half lemon cut into 4 rings, reserving the other half for dressing
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp crushed chilli flakes (more or less depending on your taste for spice)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp granulated or powdered onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra lemon wedges to serve


This recipe is for deliciously moist whole baked fish done “En Papillote” style, a French technique that bakes fish in a parchment paper package.

  • Preheat your Fornetto Oven to 190C (375F) and place the rack in the centre position of the oven. You could also bake the fish in your Fornetto kamado or smoker at the same temperature with heat deflector plates in place (if available).
  • Prepare your fish by first, scoring the flesh on either side three times. This will ensure that the flavours from the seasonings will reach the inside of the meat.
  • Second, rub the fish with a small amount of olive oil. Then salt and pepper the stomach and gill cavities of the fish and stuff them with the sliced rings of onion, the lemon and the fresh parsley (leave the stems of the parsley on for a more aromatic parsley flavour).

Papillote technique 1 (ideal for smaller fish)

  • Take a large piece of parchment paper and fold it in half, making sure that it will be large enough to fit the entire fish once all the edges of the paper are folded tight.
  • On the parchment paper, starting at one end of the fold, trace a half-heart shape, remaining as close to the loose edges of the paper as possible and cut away the excess. (When you open the folded paper, you should end up with a whole heart with two bumps at the top and a point at the bottom.)
  • Lay the heart open on the kitchen counter and place the fish running length wise along the fold roughly 3/4’s of the way up one side of the heart.
  • Season both sides of the fish with the reserved lemon half and season with the chilli, dried parsley, onion powder, and salt and pepper.
  • Fold the other half of the heart back over the fish and beginning at the rounded edges of the heart at the fold, start folding the edges together in small folds making sure to overlap each last fold with each new fold until you reach the pointy end. When you reach the pointy end of the paper, twist it off tightly.

Papillote technique 2 (ideal for larger fish)

  • The concept is the same in this technique however, instead of folding the paper along the widest part of the paper, pull double the amount of paper off the roll and fold it in half. There is no need to cut the heart shape using this technique. Instead, cut all 4 corners to form an oval instead of a heart (see image above), season as directed above and fold the sides in the same fashion.
  • Place the papillote on your spatula and place it in the oven. Remove the fish after about 30 minutes and allow to steam inside the paper for a further 10 minutes. This will ensure juicy fish. Serve the whole fish in the opened packet directly at the table with fresh lemon wedges.
  • You’ll know your fish is done right if it flakes with ease all the way to the centre and is moist and tender. Be sure to watch for small bones!
  • Serve the fish with a fresh garden salad and cool glass of Chardonnay. You’re in for a treat. Enjoy!