The last day of August.
I can’t believe it! I am so ready to wear sweaters, tights and boots though. Fall is, by far, my favorite season. I’m especially excited this year because I’ll get to experience it in a few different cities since I’ll be traveling so much on my book tour. I feel like right now is the calm before the storm, you know?
Speaking of the book tour, I wanted to let any local readers know that a week from today (9/7), I will be doing my first book signing (eek!) at Copperfield’s Books in Santa Rosa at 7pm. I’m going to post some additional book tour dates next week, but I wanted to make sure any Northern California friends knew a week ahead of time!
But since it’s still August, let’s discuss this healthy late-summer dinner I made for Adam and I last week. We both loved it! About a month ago, I vowed to start cooking more seafood and I think, so far, I’ve been doing okay! Cooking white fish (I used tilapia here) in the oven in foil or parchment paper packages is no new thing. In France, it’s called fish en papillote, which literally translates to fish in a parcel. It’s an extremely healthy way to cook and also very flavorful, since the food and veggies cook together in their own seasoned juices.
For these guys, I used tin foil since it’s a bit easier to handle (I think). I stuffed my fish packages full with all the veggies I could find at the market—zucchini, bell pepper, fennel and cherry tomatoes—and drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. It’s such a delicious little spa meal, if I do say so myself.
The vegetables I used here are really more suggestions than anything else. You could use anything, really! I would stay clear of celery though…and potatoes…but carrots would also work nice, as would different types of peppers and summer squash. I have a deep love for fennel, which no doubt stems from my obsession with licorice. I think it makes anything better!
I also tossed in a bunch of fresh basil!
I would wear basil (and cilantro, for that matter) as a perfume if I could. I can’t get enough!
The wrapping part does not have to be complicated, either.
Just tear a large rectangle of tin foil out (about 12 x 24″) and lay it flat on your counter. Then, fold it in half.
Lay the fish + veggies in the middle, like so:
Pull up the sides of the foil……
Then crunch everything together super tight so no steam and juices escape in the oven! The steam is what cooks the fish and veggies, so it’s important to really wrap your fish package up tight.
This is also a super yummy way to make potatoes on the grill! My mom does that and I love her for it. She just cuts some slits in russet potatoes, stuffs the slits with onions and butter, then wraps the potatoes up in foil and sticks them on the grill for about 40 minutes.
OH MY GOSH, is it ever amazing! And I don’t even like baked potatoes (I know…who am I, anyway). Try it!
These only take about 15 minutes in the oven and the presentation is so fun when you unwrap on the plate! The fish and veggies are cooked perfectly together.
This is what I would call a “spa meal” because it tastes like something you would get a fancy schmancy spa. It’s light, healthy and only takes half an hour from start to finish. So just paint your toes here, sip some Perrier and call it a day.
Foil-Baked Fish with Summer Veggies
3 tilapia fillets (or other white, mild-flavored fish), about 5 1/2 oz each
1 zucchini, sliced into 3″ matchsticks
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1″ piece of fennel, sliced thin
2 green onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 3″ matchsticks
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the sliced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, fennel, sliced green onions, garlic, oregano and basil. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the veggies and add a pinch of salt. Toss well.
Pull a square of tin foil about 12 x 24″ out. Fold it in half and place one fish fillet in the center. Add some vegetables on top and around the fish, then drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil around the fish and fold in all sides tightly so that no steam escapes. You want a nice, tight little package.
Repeat with the remaining fish fillets and then place the foil packets on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until fish has baked through and flakes easily. You can check the fish after 15 minutes by unwrapping a tiny corner of the foil and poking a knife or fork inside.
When done, remove from the oven and unwrap on individual plates. Enjoy!