Mediterranean Fish in Foil Packets- with Rice

Hissing in Eden (Summer) Los Angeles by Karina Allrich
Summer. Time for grilling.

This easy as 1, 2, 3 recipe has been a summer family staple since I was a blushing bride, learning to grill fish. We won't talk about how many years ago that was, Dear Reader. I mean, the blushing bridal part. Let's just say my oldest son is 26 and leave it at that.

So, you may ask- if you're a blushing bride yourself- how do you grill a slab of fresh fish and veggies all at once and have it turn out so tender and flaky and savory that your newly minted partner for life will turn to you and whisper, I knew I married the right girl? Or boy (I make no assumptions around here, goddess forbid).

Well, here's a little secret I learned way back when. Back before cooking blogs and Food TV and Jamie Oliver. I learned it from a woman who liked my paintings. This is the only way to make fish, she told me. Trust me.

I trust you, I answered. Now tell me your secret.

Foil, she said. And onions, garlic and tomatoes. It's a Mediterranean style fish- not the typical butter and Ritz cracker crumbs you get around here (we were living on Cape Cod at the time). This is the real thing, she continued. Real food. Big flavor. You'll love it!

And she was right.

Here's my easy version of Mediterranean fish- grilled (or baked) with spinach, tomatoes, onions and garlic. I also added balsamic vinegar and fresh chopped herbs.

Easy Mediterranean Fish Recipe in Foil Packets- Serve with Rice

The fish I used this time was halibut. But any hefty white fish will do- cod, haddock, tilapia, or orange roughy would all be brilliant.


4 serving size fish fillets, rinsed and patted dry (about 1 1/2 pounds)
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper
8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 red or sweet yellow onions, cut into pieces
4 cups baby spinach leaves- or chopped spinach
8 plum or Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed


Fire up the grill to medium high heat. If you are cooking indoors, preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Tear off a large sheet of aluminum foil and place it on a large platter or tray.

Lay the fish fillets in the center, in a single layer. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fillets. Season with sea salt and fresh pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic, onion, baby spinach and tomatoes. Add the balsamic vinegar, fresh chopped herbs, red pepper flakes and toss to mix. Drizzle with enough extra virgin olive oil to moisten it all. Season with a little sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Tear off a second sheet of foil the same size as the bottom sheet.

Turn up all the edges of the bottom sheet a bit to catch any liquid that runs to the edge.

Spoon the spinach-tomato mixture on top of the fish. Drizzle on any remaining olive oil left in the bowl.

Lay the second piece of foil on top of the fish and veggies and crimp the foil closed all around the edges to make a large packet.

Carry the packet with the platter or tray to the grill and carefully transfer the packet to the preheated grill. Cover the grill and cook until the fish is done- about 20 minutes or so- depending on the thickness of the fillet, and how hot your fire is. The fish should flake easily with a fork, and appear opaque.

Serve with hot cooked rice. I served mine with my tasty Spanish Brown Rice Bake recipe.

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Karina's Note for Gluten-Free Folks:

This is a safe way for those with celiac disease or food allergies to eat at pot luck barbecues and picnics. Bring your own packets! Make single individual packets for each person to make it easy to share the grill with no danger of cross contamination.

More (Fabulous!) Summer Grill Recipes From Food Bloggers:

Kalyn's Kitchen: Grilled Salmon with Asian Dipping Sauce
Cooking with Amy's Shrimp and Mango Kebabs
Food Blogga's Grilled Watermelon
Gluten-Free Bay's Grilled Chipotle Lime Chicken


~M said...

This blushing bride to be thinks that looks amazing. So does her fiancé. A definite for next week's menu! I like that you include oven directions, too, for grill-less folks. As always, thanks!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

This looks wonderful, and will be great to make when the herbs in my garden are abundant. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Tiffany said...

What a good recipe! That's a great idea to bring your own packets to pot luck dinners! I will definitely remember that one :)

Kalyn said...

Looks like a great recipe! I've only cooked fish in foil in the toaster oven, but why not on the grill too, great idea!

milhan said...

This looks wonderful - I think it is something I will try this weekend, as I just happen to have some tilapia filets in the freezer.

BTW, I wanted to tell you that I have made your horseradish spiked potato salad about 6 times already - we love it! I just made it tonight...and I added some cilantro from my garden, it's a nice touch.

Thank you for your delicious recipes :)

Paula said...

That looks amazing! I love fish and rice (in fact, we had a different version for dinner tonight!). All those yummy Mediterranean flavors are a great way to welcome summer! Great tip for g/f folks, too.

Shirley said...

What a fantastic idea for great fish and sharing the grill with the gluten-eating folks! Thanks! You asked how we are cooking fish. A recipe I found for fresh tuna called for marinating the filets in a tablespoon or so of olive oil and another tablespoon or so of lime juice. You don't even have to marinate that long. And cooking is about 7 minutes on each side--grill or broiler. I am sure the foil packet concept would work great, too (and would be wonderful for the "common" grilling). It is really surprsing how wonderful this simple recipe tastes. Oh, we've tried it for other fish, also, like mahi mahi. Give it a try.

Anonymous said...

I just made your Mediterranean Fish the other night for dinner. It was a HUGE Success! I used Orange Roughy and we ate every last bite. It was so delicious and looked beautiful too.
Thanks for sharing a recipe that someone that's always been a bit scared to cook fish found easy and worked perfectly. I think I'll cook it this summer when we vacation w/ friends. That will be "my meal contribution!"

Karina said...

~M! Aw. Sweet! Let me know how you make it.

Lydia- Thanks! Your herb garden looks fabulous! I took a peek at your Flickr set. Wow.

Tiffany- Packets are your GF friend. ;)

Kalyn- Sometimes I do marinated vegetables this way, too- on the grill. And chicken is fab this way- with lots of lemon and herbs. It keeps it juicy.

Milhan- Thank you- you are always so kind. I'm glad your enjoy the potato salad recipe!

Paula- Thanks- and foil packets make summer BBQ's so easy for gluten-free folks.

Shirley- I love lime and olive oil- I will definitely give your recipe a go. Maybe with salmon. Happy summer!

Anon- Fantastic! Glad the recipe was a success. You can add other veggies to the mix, too- thin slices of red or yellow pepper are beautiful with this combo.



linda said...

I have to make sounds delicious! and EASY too with a teensy bit of organization at to the market trip.....sounds perfect and healthy and lovely looking too....thank you for sharing your recipes.

Karina said...

Linda- Thanks- hope you like it! :)


deviled megz said...

Great recipe! i had some leftover tapenade and smeared that on the fish.....soooo good.

jen said...

I'm new to your blog and I'm loving it! This recipe is so delicious!!! I've already made it 3 times in a week's time. I love that it's so healthy and still so flavorful. I am writing about it on my blog and linking to your website.

Anonymous said...

This looks wonderful. Do you think I could double the recipe and freeze half the packets to grill later?


Karina Allrich said...

Paula, I worry that the fish would be mushy from freezing and defrosting.

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