Hapuku in Foil Cooked on Coals

11:11 pm on 16 November 2009

This recipe is not an exact science in terms of the amounts of each ingredient – if you love olives put more than eight per piece of fish, if you are not keen on capers use a teaspoon between the two pieces of fish instead of one each.

Mercurio’s Menu by Paul Mercurio published by Murdock Books.

(Serves 2)


  • 50g (1¾ oz) butter
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • 2 hapuku (groper) or other firm white fish fillets
  • about 300 g (10½ oz) in total
  • 4 French shallots, thinly sliced
  • 250g (9 oz) cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salted capers, drained and rinsed
  • 16 kalamata olives, squeeze out the pips and tear the olives with your hands
  • 8 – 10 basil leaves, torn
  • citrus olive oil or plain olive oil


As the foil packages of fish are going to lie directly on hot coals you will want to double the foil so as not to get any tears.

Take four pieces of foil large enough to wrap the fish in and lay two of the pieces on the bench, then top with the other pieces so you have two lots of foil. Smear or rub the butter

onto the foil then lay out 3 lemon slices and top with about half of the dill. Now lay the groper fillet on top of the dill. Scatter with half the shallots, tomato, capers, olives and basil. Drizzle some citrus olive oil over everything and season with a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.

Wrap the foil, bringing each side up and twisting together to create a neat, tightly sealed parcel. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the second foil package. The fish will steam as well as roast in these packages.

Place the packages on hot coals and cook for about 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil and check if the fish is ready by flaking with a fork – if the fish flakes, it is ready. If the fish is not cooked, re-wrap it and cook for a little longer. Eat directly out of the foil package savouring all of the lovely juice created by the fish, butter, lemon and tomato.

Jo Burzynska’s wine recommendations

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009 $22

Martinborough Vineyard Jackson’s Block Riesling 2009 $28

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