Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash, and Basil

August 30, 2012

Parchment paper packets are a healthy and easy way to cook fish and other seafood, as this cooking method requires less oil than pan-frying or sometimes even baking. The sealed packets trap and infuse the fish with flavors of anything else you enclose, usually vegetables and herbs. The packets also help keep the fish from overcooking and drying out as easily as it could on top of the stove. I’m always taking to my diabetic clients about the health benefits of including more fish in the diet, but I don’t eat enough of it myself and I’m working on remedying that! This recipe (from the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit) caught my eye because it contained basil, summer squash, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes – four items I continue to have in overabundance!

I made this recipe in the oven, but it could also be made on the grill using foil packets rather than parchment paper. Make sure the packets are well crimped to keep the steam and juices from escaping.

You can use any variety of flaky white fish; I used cod (because the halibut was twice as expensive, haha!). We both thought this made a perfect weeknight summer supper – a whole meal in one easy package!

Fish with tomatoes, squash, and basil

Serves 4


  • 2  cups very thinly sliced assorted summer squash (such as zucchini, yellow crookneck, and pattypan)
  • 1/4  cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/4  cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided, plus 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 20  cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4  tablespoons dry white wine
  • 4  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  6-ounce skinless white flaky fish fillets (such as cod or halibut)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (or if grilling, build a medium fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high).
  2. Place four 14×12″ sheets of parchment paper, or heavy-duty foil if grilling, on a work surface. Divide squash among parchment sheets, arranging on one side of sheet in thin layers. Sprinkle shallots and sliced basil over, dividing equally. Scatter tomato halves around squash. Drizzle each packet with 1 tablespoon white wine and ½ tablespoon olive oil (add ½ tablespoon water to each if grilling). Season with salt and pepper. Place a fish fillet atop each portion. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle ½ tablespoon oil over each.
  3. Fold parchment over mixture and crimp edges tightly to form a sealed packet.
  4. If baking, place packets in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake or grill fish until just cooked through (a toothpick poked through the parchment will slide through fish easily), about 10 minutes. Carefully cut open packets (steam will escape). Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.

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