Fish Poached in Paper

Kağıtta Balık Buğulaması


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

By Jason Goodwin

Published 2016

  • About

I don’t buy fish at supermarkets; it can be as much as two weeks old. But their competition means that if you do have the luxury of a local fishmonger, he will probably be very good. In Istanbul markets the fish are displayed with their gills turned out, frilly and red like a houri’s petticoats, so that the question of freshness can be decided at a glance. There may or may not be crushed ice: these fish won’t hang about.

In the meantime there’s a lot to be said for cooking with paper and string, in cartoccio. Your little parcels will seal in flavour and they look incredibly enticing on a plate. The surprise is that the parcels aren’t baked, but poached.


  • boneless fillets of fish 4
  • olive oil
  • butter 4 tsp
  • fennel bulb 1, finely sliced
  • red onion 1, finely sliced
  • parsley small bunch, chopped
  • lemon 1
  • salt
  • pepper
  • string or good thread


  • Cut the fish into 2 inch pieces. Cut some baking parchment into 6-inch squares, counting two squares to each piece of fish.
  • Dampen the paper by flicking it with water from your fingers, and brush with olive oil.
  • Lay two sheets of paper one above the other, at an angle, to form an eight-pointed star. In the middle set a piece of fish with some slices of fennel and onion, a sprinkle of parsley and a knob of butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Gather the points of the parcel together at the top and secure them with a loop of string tied in a bow.
  • Carry on making parcels until all the fish is used up.
  • Bring an inch of water to the boil in a shallow pan wide enough to hold all the parcels together. When it is boiling, lower the parcels into the water and cook for fifteen minutes.
  • Serve in cartoccio, with lemon wedges.