Salmon Sabzi in Parchment Paper

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes Cook Time:  12 minutes

Salmon Sabzi in Parchment Paper

Persian spice paste, or sabzi, is a wonderfully perky addition to a sturdy fish, whether roasted or cooked in a French-style parchment paper wrapper, or drizzled on vegetables before roasting or grilling.


bunch fresh cilantro

1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 bunch fresh chives

1 bunch scallions (about 6), sliced in half lengthwise

1 (8-ounce) bag baby spinach, stems removed

2 lemons, washed well and cut into ⅛-inch rounds (see Kitchen Tip)

1¼ pounds salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces, any small pin bones removed (see Kitchen Tips)

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves



4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lemons



  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheet with a layer or foil.
  2. Layer 4 (11-by-17-inch) pieces of parchment paper, fold them in half and, starting from the fold and working outward, cut out half an oval; then unfold the parchment to reveal 4 ovals. Place 1 parchment oval on a work surface and arrange one-fourth of the cilantro and parsley sprigs, chives, and scallion pieces on one side, leaving the other half bare. Arrange 3 lemon slices on top, followed by 1 salmon fillet. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the salt, pepper, and fenugreek leaves.
  3. Fold the unfilled half of the parchment over the fish to make a half-oval, and seal the edge by tucking and rolling (or bending) it inward to make a small package (like a calzone). Repeat the the remaining parchment and ingredients.
  4. When all of the parchment packages have been filled and sealed, place them on the prepared baking sheets. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the parchment packages have puffed and browned slightly.
  5. Cut open the packages, working carefully so that you avoid any escaping steam. Drizzle the fillets with olive oil and lemon juice, scatter the zest over them, and serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Use the slices from the center of the lemon, so they are nice and wide.
  2. To remove pin bones from a fillet of fish such as trout, salmon or arctic char, place the fillet on a work surface. Run your finger along the the top (not the underbelly or the tail) and you will feel the tiny bones, no bigger than a pin. With fish tweezers or tongs, grasp one pin bone firmly and pull toward the head end of the fish; don’t pull toward the tail because the bones don’t face that way and they will snap in half. Gently but firmly pull out the bones one by one. If one does happen to snap, feel for the piece you left behind and with your finger and pull it out.
  3. It used to be exotic, but you can buy parchment paper in most supermarkets, either on a roll or in sheets. (If you buy sheets, use the 11-by-17-inch, so you’ll have room to cut the ovals. In a pinch, you can use aluminum foil packets, but some folks’ taste buds aren’t fond of citrus cooked in aluminum foil.

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