fish on a plate with greens and lemon slices

One of Jamie’s favourite ways to cook fish is in a tin foil parcel – it’s quick, simple and delicately steams the fish to perfection.

Homemade foil bags are perfect for throwing on the barbecue on a warm summer’s day, or if the weather’s not up to the job, they work just as well in the oven. This recipe embraces lemon, fennel, olives and white wine to create a delicious sauce – simply fashion a parcel out of tin foil, pack the ingredients inside and let the flavours work their magic.



 Serves 1

1 large free-range egg
100g waxy potatoes
½ a bulb of fennel
½ a lemon
5 ripe cherry tomatoes
1 handful of black olives (stone in)
olive oil
120g firm fish fillet, such as haddock, halibut, salmon, skin off and pin-boned, from sustainable sources
1 splash of white wine

  1. Fire up the barbecue (or preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6). Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Crack the egg into a bowl and beat it.
  2. Make a bag out of wide tin foil by tearing off a piece roughly 35cm x 45cm in size and folding it double.
  3. With the narrow side facing you, brush the bottom edge and its two adjoining edges with a little of the beaten egg, stopping halfway up the foil.
  4. Fold the foil over and seal the edges, leaving the top edge of the bag unbrushed and open.
  5. Cut the potatoes into quarters (large potatoes into eighths), then lower them into the boiling salted water and cook for 6 minutes. Meanwhile, trim the fennel and cut into wedges (reserving the fronds) and finely slice the lemon. Place both into a large bowl.
  6. Halve the cherry tomatoes and destone and halve the olives, then add to the bowl along with a drizzle of oil and the fish.
  7. Drain the potatoes, leave to cool then add to the bowl along with the fish. Season with sea salt and black pepper and, using your hands, gently toss to combine.
  8. Transfer to the foil bag, finishing with the reserved fennel fronds and the wine.
  9. Seal the top of the bag with a little more brushed egg, then place on the hot barbecue (or if cooking in the oven, place on a baking tray) and cook for 18 to 20 minutes. Use your instincts – if the piece of fish is quite thick, it’ll need slightly longer (around 25 minutes).
  10. Once cooked, gently pierce the foil bag to release the steam (stand back!), carefully unwrap the bag, then spoon onto a plate. Delicious served with some steamed tenderstem broccoli or green beans.

For more alfresco meal ideas, head to our outdoor recipe section.

Want to learn how to fillet a fish? Bart Van Olphen is here to show you how in under 1 minute.