The pungent lemony tang of this dish is reminiscent
of Mediterranean cooking. If the idea of folding
parchment paper into baking containers intimidates
you, use aluminum foil lined with waxed paper
or even a paper bag, folded over like a school
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Squeeze the juice
of 2 lemons into a non-reactive baking dish
and whisk in the shallot, parsley, and about
3/4 cup of the olive oil. Taste for balance;
it should taste moderately tart. Add another
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, if necessary.
Add the fish to the marinade and turn to coat
well. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
Fold 4 large sheets
of parchment paper in half. Beginning at one
end of the fold, cut a point, then around into
as wide a semicircle as possible, ending at
the opposite end of the fold with a rounded
point. When opened out, the paper will resemble
a heart. Center the fish on one side of the
heart, season with salt and pepper, and spoon
a generous tablespoon marinade over each fillet.
Cut 1 lemon into very thin slices. Overlap 3
or 4 lemon slices along the length of each fillet.
Seal the packets
and transfer them to a baking sheet. Bake in
the preheated oven until cooked through, about
12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the
While the fish
bakes, make the spinach salad. In a bowl,
soak the red onion slivers in the juice of the
remaining lemon for several minutes. The onions
will turn a pale pink. Whisk in the remaining
1/4 cup olive oil and season to taste with salt
and pepper. Add the spinach and toss well.
When the fish is
done, remove from the oven and place on 4 warm
dinner plates. Cut open the packets and spread
back the paper. Quickly divide the salad among
the packets. The spinach will wilt across the
top. Serve immediately.
Cut the onion in half lengthwise, and cut each
half in half again crosswise. Cut the slivers
lengthwise from each half. They will have an
attractive crescent shape. You can also simply
cut the onions into 1/4 inch dice.