foil steamed halibut with fennel & potatoes

one of my favorite ways to prepare fish is to steam it in foil (or parchment paper) packets. the best things about this method besides being very easy to do is that you can build your flavors for each portion based on individual preferences. another advantage is that you can discard the foil and not worry about cleaning the baking dish! i typically use halibut or sea bass, but black cod and salmon work well too. sometimes i add flavors such as lemongrass, cilantro, and ginger with a touch of sesame oil and coconut milk, or simply use a combination of ginger, garlic and soy sauce. this time the halibut was so fresh and beautiful i decided not to play with it too much. i was slightly worried about the shaved fennel under the thin bed of potatoes (not sure it would cook properly), but the resulting dish was satisfying and delicious beyond expectation: light flakey fish delicately infused with garlic, lemon zest, dill, and underlying hints of fennel. there was only one problem-we were left wanting more! this recipe is a keeper.
ingredients for individual packets of foil-steamed fish (halibut)

  • 1 portion of fish (halibut in this case)
  • 1 small potato, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon: about 1/2 tsp zest per portion, one thin slice per portion, and about 4-5 drops of juice
  • small bunch of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced-use 2-3 slices per portion of fish
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, shaved or thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a large piece of foil (large enough to wrap the fish completely and allow room for steam)




1. preheat oven to 350-375 degrees. lay down the fennel in the middle of the foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a touch of lemon zest, then add a layer of potatoes and sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper, lemon zest, and drizzle with a few drops of olive oil.

2. place the fish over the potatoes, season with salt & pepper, add a few slices of garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, a sprinkling of chopped dill. drizzle with olive oil and add a few drops of fresh lemon juice. add a thin slice of lemon to the top.
3. start folding the foil~ bringing in 2 sides at a time and wrapping tightly to keep the steam inside. bake on a baking sheet for about 15-25 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your fish. serve with lightly creamed spinach (recipe up next).

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3 Comments on “foil steamed halibut with fennel & potatoes

    • yes, it does! i do this all the time… as long as you slice the potatoes rather thin-about 1/2 an inch thick (see photo above), it cooks perfectly and absorbs the juices from the fish & lemon.
      give it a try, and let me know how it goes.

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