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Fish in Newspaper

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Adjust Servings:
2 Whole Rainbow Trout Cleaned and gutted
The Stuffing
0.25 finely chopped Fennel Bulbs
2 slices of chopped Sliced Salami
1 chopped Tomatoes
0.5 finely chopped Red Onion
zest of 1 Orange
pinch Rock salt
to taste Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fish in Newspaper

A beautiful rainbow trout stuffed with fennel, salami and tomato wrapped in newspaper and cooked on the campfire.

    • 35 minutes
    • Serves 4
    • Medium


    • The Stuffing



    When talking about backwoods cooking in Scouts, it’s usually only a matter of time before someone talks about cooking a Fish in Newspaper. Lots of people talk about it, but I had never actually done it before.

    Fish Steamed in Newspaper

    Cooking your Fish in Newspaper

    When you cook a Fish in Newspaper, you are essentially steaming the fish to cook it. The fish is wrapped in several layers of newspaper and tied up to keep it secure. It’s worth learning how to parcel tie. Then you dunk the whole thing in water to stop the paper catching fire.

    I learned a lot during this cook and when I try it again, I know it’ll work out even better. Saying that, the fish I cooked over the fire was delicious but there were definitely improvements to be made.

    Cook your Fish in Newspaper on a hot bed of embers for around 20 minutes turning a couple of times and checking the embers are still hot. Check the fish is cooked through before serving. If your fish was definitely fish, you can opt to serve it a little under done but I wouldn’t recommend because your stuffing will still be cold and you want that heated up so the juices from the salami run and flavour the fish. (That was another lesson I learned during this cook!)

    Here’s another set of instructions from Instructables. You could also, absolutely do this on a charcoal BBQ!

    The Stuffing

    I had planned to make an Italian-inspired salami, fennel and tomato stuffing for the filling. The filling was tasty, but I over did it with the onion. I also made way too much stuffing and added some to make tomato salad. The next time I try this recipe, I’ll also be bringing a different knife to allow me to chop the stuffing ingredients a bit finer. I have adapted the recipe below so the proportions are a bit better.

    Fennel isn’t the flavour for everyone but you by now know that I love exposing Scouts to new flavours and methods of cooking. If this is a bit too far for you, a great alternative to this fennel, salami and tomato stuffing is a simple lemon and herb stuffing. Stuff the fish with loads of mixed herbs. Try dill, parsley, oregano, basil or sage and slices of whole lemon with plenty of salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil.

    Keeping your Fish Fresh

    I opted to stuff two rainbow trout and, as with all fresh fish and meat, these need to be kept cool. I knew I was staying somewhere with a fridge, but if you don’t have a fridge on hand, make sure you keep your fish cool and use it as quickly as possible. Fresh fish should have bright eyes and smell of the sea, it shouldn’t smell overly “fishy” or rotten. It should have firm, shiny flesh and definitely not feel slimy.

    The Big Reveal


    Is cooking Fish in Newspaper safe? The short answer is, I hope so!

    Read up on the inks involved, some are petroleum-based but lots now are soy and water-based. All inks in the EU are “non-toxic” but they don’t plan on you eating them! If you rub the newspaper and it smudges and comes off on your thumb, it’s most likely petroleum-based because the oils involved never dry properly. Maybe you might want to avoid these. Stick to soy-based inks and don’t do this very often and you’ll probably be fine but I’m no expert so no promises, you do this at your own risk…

    If this is something you’re worried about, swap the paper out for cabbage leaves or check the ethnic or Asian stores in your area to look for things such as banana leaves.

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    Light the fire and get a good bed of embers going.


    Finely chop all of the veg and salami for the stuffing and mix together with the olive oil, orange zest, salt and pepper. Slice the zested orange up.


    Fill the trout with the stuffing and place on some separate sheets of newspaper with 2 slices or orange in each parcel. Wrap each fish up in 3-5 pages of paper and tie up the parcels.


    This important, soak each parcel thoroughly. I used a big pot of water, this could be in the sink or even a river.


    Place each parcel carefully on the bed of embers and let them steam away for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the fish.


    When you're happy with the cook, take it off the heat and unwrap being careful of escaping steam. I served with a tomato salad. To make it go further, I'd also have a chunk of bread, sticking to that Italian theme.

    Mark T

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