I love me a good piece of fish. However, I AM picky about where my fish comes from, and that it’s fresh. For me, this means that most of the time I go to the fish market, talk to the staff to see what is the freshest, and purchase based on their recommendation. Sure, some of the time I go in with a specific fish in mind, but I also love to try new things…like the red snapper that the owner suggested today.
My philosophy when cooking fish is usually the simpler, the better. Fish is one of the easiest things to cook, and a good fresh filet should be allowed to shine on its on accord. Upon bringing the fish home from the market this afternoon, I opened up the fridge to see what might jump out at me to serve with it. Here’s what I came up with, but please feel free to use whatever appeals to you!
I decided to cook the snapper en papillote, which is a fancy way of saying its cooked in a parchment paper packet. I like this technique because it’s super easy and there is virtually no clean-up required, and I think you will too. If you’ve never cooked fish this way, give it a try and see what you think.
How many pieces of fish do you want to make? Start by tearing twice as many large squares of parchment paper as pieces of fish. Double layer them on your counter like so:
Place a few sprigs of some fresh herbs in the middle – I’m using parsley today, but you could try it with basil, cilantro, thyme, rosemary…or whatever you find in your fridge or garden!
Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.
Place the fish filets on top of the herbs.
Pretty easy so far, right? Now, we could stop here but I didn’t feel like it. Instead, I spread some jarred bruschetta on top of each filet. The jar was almost empty and it was taking up precious fridge real estate, so can you blame me?
Wow, that looks good, doesn’t it?!? Too bad I don’t eat raw fish.
Never one to quit at halftime, I wanted to add a few more things. I guess I should take back what I said about keeping fish simple, huh?
Let’s dice up some zucchini…
Some cherry tomatoes…
A couple shallots (I changed my mind from the red onion that I had originally pulled out and photograped – I suggest you change your mind often when cooking too)…
A couple sundried tomatoes (another random jar in the fridge).
And a handful of parsley.
Looks good so far!
Toss everything together, with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper if you feel so inclined.
Scoop some of the veggies on top of each piece of fish:
Fold the parchment together to make a sealed packet, like so:
Repeat until all packets are folded and ready to go.
Place the packets on a cookie sheet, and bake in a 450-degree oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish you’re using). When you take it out of the oven, the packets are going to be filled with steam so please be careful when you open them! I love a good steam facial as much as the next girl, but eau de red snapper is not my favourite scent to steam with. Consider yourself warned.
Are you ready for this?
This smells heavenly. Should we take a bite?
Perfection on a plate – the fish is moist and flaky, the veggies are tender but not mushy, and it only took a few minutes to throw together. I hope you find fish en papillote as much of a good thing as I do!