Snapper in Parchment with Warm Pistou

11:30 am on 17 January 2011


  • 1 whole snapper, cleaned, but with head and tail on , rinsed and patted dry
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons of Pistou ( see recipe below)
  • Large sprig of fresh thyme
  • 4 whole fresh bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, skinned, cored, deseeded and chopped
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste


Preheat oven  to 230°C.
Cut a sheet of baking parchment large enough  to comfortably wrap the fish. Centre it  on a baking sheet. Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity of the fish with 3 tablespoons of the pistou. Tuck the thyme and bay leaves inside. Carefully fold the other half of the paper over the fish, closing it like a book. To seal the package, plait or crimp- fold the parchment to form a neat package.
Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, just lightly warm the chopped tomatoes with the olive oil and remaining 2 tablespoons of pistou. Taste for seasoning, adding a touch of lemon juice.
Remove package from the oven and with scissors carefully cut it open: Watch out there will be plenty of steam. Let it sit for 3 minutes so the fish firms up and will be easier to fillet.
Fillet the fish and place a portion with a spoonful of pistou on top.

Pistou Ingredients

4 fresh garlic cloves (chopped)
Sea salt to taste
2 large bunches of fresh basil leaves and flowers
125 ml extra virgin olive oil


Place garlic and salt in a mortar and mash with a pestle to form a paste. Add the basil little, pounding and turning the pestle with a grinding motion to  form a paste. Slowly add the oil, drop by drop until all the oil has been used and the paste is homgenous. Taste for seasoning. Stir again before serving.

Transfer to small bowl. Serve immediately. ( The sauce can be stored- covered and refrigerated, for 1 day or frozen for up to 6 months). Bring to room temperature, and stir again before serving.


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