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Cod in a Sack with Fennel and Onion

This is my version of fish in parchment paper. The brown bag keeps the fish moist, and helps the vegetables impart their flavor into the fish and sauce around it by keeping it all together. –RR Serve with Asparagus and Green Bean Salad.


  • Parchment paper

  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1/2 cup good quality black and green olives, pitted and chopped

  • 2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 4 portions (get thick pieces from the center cuts rather than tail-end pieces)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (a generous handful), chopped

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for generous drizzling

  • 1 lemon

  • Crusty bread, to pass at table


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Rip off four sheets of parchment paper, each a little over a foot long. Make layered stacks, dividing the fennel, onion, garlic, olives and cod among the parchment pieces, working in the center of each piece of paper. Season the cod with salt and pepper and top with parsley. Drizzle EVOO liberally over the fish portions. Fold the top and bottom edges together and crease several times, then crease up the ends of the packets. Arrange the packets on the baking sheet and place in the center of the hot oven.

Bake the packets for 20 minutes. Serve one packet per dinner plate and cut open at the table. Cut the lemon into wedges and serve to squeeze down over the hot fish.

Pass bread at the table to mop up the cooking juices in the sack.

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