Shelfish in Paper Bags

Fish, and particularly something as delicate and fragrant as shellfish, lends itself especially well to paper-bag cookery. I love to cook scallops with a little soy sauce, sherry, fresh ginger and spring onions in a paper parcel for a fresh, oriental-flavoured dish.

For this next recipe I would use mussels, some scallops, the biggest, juiciest prawns I could find, even a crayfish or langoustine each, if possible. Use strong baking parchment for these parcels.


  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 16 mussels in their shells
  • 4-8 scallops, depending on size, or 16 queen scallops
  • 8 prawns
  • 4 crayfish or langoustines – optional
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons good white wine or dry vermouth


Cut four rectangles from baking parchment, and fold each in half down the middle. Cut each piece of paper into a heart shape with the fold running down to the point. Liberally butter the paper hearts.

Scrub the mussels well, remove the beard and knock off any barnacles. Place 4 on one side of each paper heart. Add the scallops, prawns and langoustine or crayfish, if using them. Sprinkle on the parsley, and season lightly. Splash the wine over the shellfish. A ‘good white wine’, by the way, is a wine that you would be prepared to drink.

The parcels are now ready to seal. Fold over the other side of the heart. With the edges together, fold the paper over, making tight overlapping folds, or rolling the edges together to seal the parcel. Prepare the other parcels in the same way, and lay them on a baking tray. Place it in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for 8 minutes. Serve while hot, placing each parcel on an individual plate, and cutting them open at the table.