Salmon with Fresh Herbs

One of my favorite summer dishes is salmon, wrapped, then baked or

grilled, in fig leaves. It’s a Chez Panisse recipe, except they use halibut (my least preferred fish). Salmon works beautifully instead.


Since not everyone has access to fresh fig leaves, I am proposing the option of wrapping the salmon in parchment with some added herbs. It’s equally delicious, and leaves the fish even more moist than the fig leaf version. Fig leaves, however, impart a lot of flavor to the fish, very much like fresh coconut. When using parchment instead, add a sprig of herbs to top the fish before wrapping. It’s both flavorful and very attractive when unwrapped.


Roasted cherry tomatoes make a flavorful, sweet accompaniment to the fish.

Serve with steamed summer green beans tossed in a vinaigrette, and steamed or roasted purple sweet potatoes.


Salmon Baked in Parchment with Fresh Herbs

Serves 4

1 lb. salmon filet, cut into 4 even pieces (seabass is also nice here)

4 Tbs. olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 large sprigs of Italian parsley or cilantro, or substitute another herb: thyme, tarragon, chervil, lovage, etc.

Squeeze of lemon

Heat the oven to 375 d. Cut 4 generous sheets of parchment paper, large enough to wrap each fish fillet in. You’ll put the fish in the center, rub with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place a large sprig of your preferred herb on top. Fold parchment in at top and bottom, then the sides. Arrange all on a baking sheet, seam-side down. Bake for about 10 minutes or until just done. Serve, letting each person unwrap their packet at table. Top with roasted cherry tomatoes.

Don’t grill if using parchment – though if you want to grill, you could do the prep the same and wrap the fish in foil packets instead.

Salmon Baked, or Grilled in Fig Leaves

Serves 4

4 servings

4 large fig leaves

1 lb. salmon filet, cut into 4 even pieces

4 Tbs. olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Squeeze of lemon

Heat the oven to 375 d. Wash the fig leaves, and put them on the table, shiny side up. Put the fish in the middle of each leaf. Oil the fish on both sides, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Fold the fig leaf over the fish to make a package. Put the folded side down when you place it on a baking sheet or on the grill so that it will stay closed.

Put the baking sheet with the four packages in the oven for about 10 minutes. (If grilling the fish, cook 3 to 4 minutes on one side, then turn it over and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.) To see if it is done, open one of the packages and look at the center of the fish. If it is opaque and flakes easily, it’s done. Remember, it will continue to cook a bit after you take if from the oven, so don’t cook it too long. Put the packages on plates, and let each person open their own. It is good with a squeeze of lemon and a little extra salt.



Adapted from Fanny at Chez Panisse, by Alice Waters

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