A friend of mine was planning a special birthday dinner for her mother recently, and when I asked what she was making, she responded with a resolute "fish in parchment," as if it there were no other options even worthy of consideration. Such a resounding vote of confidence of fish done in this method piqued my curiosity, so I set off to try it out, but of course, done on the grill.
A delicate food in structure, parchment pouches are an excellent choice for grilling fish without the terror of cooking directly on the grates and subjecting yourself to the all too real fears of the seafood sticking or falling apart on the grill. It also solves the problem of being able to cook less grillable fish, like sole and flounder.
The main attraction, though, is the way you can build flavor. Cooked in parchment, the contents of the pouch are gently steamed, and the aroma and flavors given off by each ingredient permeates lightly through each other, ending with a meal that's the sum of all its parts.
We tried out a bunch of different combos when cooking these fillets of sole, but my favorite was one that consisted of thin slices of yellow and green squash, lemon, and dill. Light and fresh, the fish was perfectly tender, having a slight lemony tang and herbal notes from the dill. I could instantly tell why this method of cooking seafood was so treasured by my friend—simple to put together, but with results that tasted impressive enough to make it feel like something really special.
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About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.