Wrapping Up your Fish Grilling

Jul 31, 2018

Folks have been using cedar planks to impart a smoky flavor to fish for years.

Credit Justin Fox Burks


Cedar papers, paper thin sheets of cedar wood, allow you to steam fish fillets to perfection on the grill while that same subtle smoky flavor is infused.

You can find cedar paper in the seafood department of most grocery stores.  They will be next to the cedar planks. The majority of companies that make cedar planks for grilling now also sell cedar paper wraps.

Since cedar papers are made from wood, they will burn if they are not soaked in a liquid for at least 10 minutes prior to grilling. Cedar grill papers only need to be soaked long enough to become pliable, but it’s fine to soak for several hours before use.

The soaked papers add both moisture and a smoky cedar flavor to the dish. You can always just use water. But to add an extra depth of flavor, soak the cedar papers in orange juice, wine, or bourbon.

For the best flavor, I also recommend marinating the fish. This can be done at the same time you are soaking the cedar papers.  A simple mixture of citrus juices and olive oil is my go to marinade for most fish varieties.  You only need to let the fish marinate for about 10 minutes. Any longer and the acid in the citrus fruits may start to actually cook the fish.

Before closing the cedar paper wrap, top your fish with thinly sliced vegetables and mangos. You could also season the dish with fresh herbs or a dry rub if you’d like. As the fish cooks, the flavors will meld together with the smoky cedar.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

Cedar Wrapped Mahi-Mahi with Mango and Red Peppers

  • 4 4- to 6-ounce mahi-mahi fillets, cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Vegetable oil, for the grates
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cedar papers with cotton strings, soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 2 mangos, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, thinly sliced

In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil until well combined. Place the mahi-mahi in a shallow nonreactive dish large enough to hold the fish in a single layer, and pour the marinade over the fish. Marinate for 10 minutes.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Place the soaked cedar papers on a work surface.

Remove the fish from marinade, shake off the excess, and discard the marinade. Place 1/4 of the fish in the center of a soaked paper parallel to the grain of the wood. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat with the 3 remaining papers. Top with the mango, red bell pepper, red onion, and jalapeño slices. Fold the edges of each paper over the fish and tie with a cotton string.

Place the packets directly on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until medium, 4 to 5 minutes per side. To serve, place packets on dinner plates and allow your guests to unwrap.

Serves 4.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.