Carefully wrapped up like a little birthday surprise, this recipe is giving us everything we’ve been asking for. Any dish wrapped like a gift is a fun novelty, this one as beautiful as it is nutrient-packed. There are a million ways to get your family to eat more healthfully, but wrapping dinner as a parceled gift? Works every time.

This recipe comes to us from renowned documentary producer and children’s nutrition advocate Laurie David. Laurie’s most recent documentary about childhood sugar consumption is a must-watch, and her latest cookbook, The Family Cooks provides all the answers to the questions raised in the film. The Family Cooks teaches us how to make cooking not only easy and accessible, but how to do it with flair as well. We’re on board with Laurie’s mission to use homemade cooking as a vehicle for changing the health of America, one family at a time. Dive into this fun and simple dish made with local wild fish, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus and bok choy, and join Laurie in revitalizing the magic of home cooking.

Gift-Wrapped Fish
4 servings


olive oil, for the baking sheet
2 to 3 cups shiitake or button mushrooms, stems discarded, thinly sliced
4 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup, plus 1 tsp, reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds skinless black cod, salmon, or other mild fish, pin bones removed (have the fishmonger do this for you)
8 asparagus, woody ends snapped off, thinly sliced crosswise or lengthwise
2 bunches baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar or lime juice mixed with a dab of honey)


1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF with the rack in the middle. Grease a baking sheet with a thin coat of olive oil. Tear off 4 pieces of foil, each about the size of a dinner plate, and fit each into 4 wide soup bowls.

2. Toss together the mushrooms with 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, and the garlic in a medium bowl. Spread them on the baking sheet and pop them in the hot oven to roast until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove them but leave the oven on. Meanwhile, cut the fish into cubes. Into each foil-lined bowl, place the asparagus, top with the fish, then the bok choy.

3. When the mushrooms are done, add them to the bowls. Whisk together the rice vinegar, and the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 teaspoons sesame oil and drizzle over the fish, dividing it evenly. Tear and lay a second piece of foil on top of the fish and crimp the edges into an airtight seal.

4. Transfer the packages, seam side up (without the bowls), onto 2 baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Take the packages out and peek into one: The fish should flake easily when a knife is inserted into it.

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