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Al cartoccio refers to an Italian cookery technique where fish is cooked in parchment with the flavourings of garlic, rosemary and lemon.

The original recipe for this called for hake, but you can use any white fish. I used River Cobbler (£2.50 for 2 fillets at Sainsbury), although it is imported all of the way from Vietnam. Will try and get some hake next time.

It also called for chopped chilli but I tried that and it dominated the flavour of the whole dish so I added a whole one and discarded it at the end. I served it with an indulgent cauliflower puree and roasted baby leeks and tender stem broccoli.

It takes around 30 minutes to prep and cook.

Fish 'al cartoccio' with cauliflower puree and roasted vegetables

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Modern British
Servings 2 people



  • 2 fillets white fish e.g hake
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt

Cauliflower Puree

  • 10 florets cauliflower cut up in to equal sizes
  • 4 tbsp creme fraiche or cream
  • flat leaf parsley
  • 1 knob butter

Roasted baby leeks and broccoli

  • 6 baby leeks
  • 8 florets tender stem broccoli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds optional


  • Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees C
  • Trim both ends of the baby leeks and the blanch them and the tender stem broccoli for 5 minutes (place in a pan of boiling salted water) and then refresh in iced water to stop the cooking process. Dry thoroughly and place in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with cumin seeds (optional) and a good glug of olive oil. Place in the oven for around 15 minutes once the cauliflower has been steaming for 5 minutes.
  • Cut the cauliflower florets and steam until tender, that is when a sharp knife pierces the cauliflower easily (about 15 minutes). Pulse in a blender with creme fraiche (or cream) until smooth. Return to pan, add a knob of butter, salt and pepper and heat gently to warm through stirring all of the time.
  • Prepare the fish by tearing first a piece of baking parchment paper and then a slightly larger piece of foil. Place the parchment paper on the foil and scrunch up the foil at the corners so that you have something like a tray. Place the fish on the parchment paper, and for each fish fillet add the rosemary sprigs, the red chilli, a crushed garlic clove (you can leave the skin on), a tablespoon of white wine, a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice (if using a fresh lemon use some zest too) and a sprinkling of sea salt. Scrunch up the foil until you have a sealed parcel and place in the oven for 12 minutes. Discard the garlic, rosemary and chilli and serve with the cauliflower puree and roasted leeks and broccoli. Spoon over some of the liquid from the parcel.
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