My grandfather’s ranch in Durango, Mexico has a small reservoir.
As a kid, I remember vividly the men going out on their row boats and returning with fish.
My grandfather would chop wood for the fire. They would clean the fish, and I would help in preparing the Pescado Empapelado (Mexican Fish in Foil Packets).
The potatoes would go on the fire first, then the corn, and lastly the fish.
Simple, rustic, delicious Mexican food.
How to Make Pescado Empapelado
“Empapelado” in English means “foil packet.”
The beauty of Pescado Empapelado (Mexican Fish in Foil Packets) is that they are individually made and specific to what you like.
I like adding a ton of veggies to a make a healthy Mexican fish dish.
Even if it looks like too much, it’s not. Everything will cook down.
These are Calabacitas, a type of Mexican squash. If you can’t find these in the store, you can add Italian zucchini instead.
Other Vegetables You Can Include in Your Pescado Empapelado:
- Chopped Broccoli
- Green Beans
- Chopped Cauliflower
The trick to get the veggies to cook thoroughly is to cut everything into very thin slices or chop the veggies into smaller pieces.
Now this next ingredient is completely optional. For me, though, it wouldn’t be Pescado Empapelado (Mexican Fish in Foil Packets) without sliced jalapeños.
If you don’t like it spicy, omit. Or, something I like to do is add sour cream.
FYI: Dairy tames the heat. Next time a dish is too hot, reach for a glass of water.
I’m using fresh tilapia. The fresher, the better. You can use whatever fish you have on hand.
Other Types of Fish You Can Use:
- Red Snapper
I love using frozen fish for dishes like Fish Ceviche (Ceviche de Pescado) because it sits in lime juice for hours.
However, for this Mexican Fish Recipe, I do not recommend using frozen fish.
You can prep the empapelado (foil pack) up to 2 days ahead. More than that, you risk the fish going bad.
Fold the center sides in. Then fold the ends in.
You want your Tilapia Empapelado to be wrapped nice and tight. If you need to, add more foil paper.
Especially if you are planning to grill fish in foil packet, you don’t want it to crumble on you.
NOTE: Don’t limit yourself to just fish. Try this recipe with shrimp, lobster, scallops, or chicken instead of fish.
You want to make a tight foil packet (affiliate) in order for the steam inside to cook the fish.
If you are using a thicker cut of fish, I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of water to the packet before closing it. The water will steam and help the thick cut of fish cook thoroughly.
This is a “Mexican-Style” recipe, but you can also make Pescado a la Veracruzana. So yummy!
You can cook this on the stove as I am here.
Other ways to cook Pescado Emapapelado:
- place on the grill for 5-7 minutes.
- or in the oven for 5-7 minutes
This recipe is for Pescado Empapelado a la Mexicana. That is, Mexican style. Many Latin American countries have their own versions.
It also seems to vary from person to person, family to family, region to region. Adjust it to make it your own.
Serve with rice, corn, and potato. Don’t forget the your favorite salsa. Perfect for summer entertaining and Fish Fridays. Hope you enjoy!
Don’t to Watch Video How to Make Pescado Empapelado (Mexican Fish in Foil Packets)
Pescado Empapelado (Mexican Fish in Foil Packets)
- Lay out a large piece of foil paper.
- To the center, brush butter, not touching the sides.
- Add fish to the center.
- Top with desired amounts of carrot, calabacitas, onion, tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeno.
- Add 1-2 sprigs of chopped cilantro
- Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon (or lime)
- Add salt and oregano (if using)
- Fold the center of the foil paper in.
- Fold in each end, creating a packet.
- Place on the stove in a large skillet for 5-7 minutes
- (Or, place in a 375 degrees F oven or grill for 5-7 minutes).
- Serve with additional lemon and enjoy.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Other Mexican Seafood Recipes
Camarones a la Diabla, or Mexican Deviled Shrimp, is spicy food at its best. This Mexican recipe promises to give a good kick to your dinner. Often served with white rice, lime, and a tall glass of water to tame the heat.
Tostada de Atún (Tuna Tostada) is a budget-friendly, light, and delicious recipe. Ready in minutes and doesn’t break the bank.
Camarones Rancheros, or Ranch-Style Shrimp, is an easy Mexican recipe loaded with flavor. Ready in less than 30 minutes and sure to please any crowd.