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Snapper Baked in Parchment with Spring Vegetables

- Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

This method makes French-style cooking easy. Each parcel of fish and veggies steams with its own delicious juices (a technique called en papillote). The package concentrates the flavors, and when opened at the table, it releases a dramatic cloud of aromatic steam.

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yields: MAKES 4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 pound fresh asparagus

8 sweet mini peppers

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

4 pickled okra pods, halved lengthwise

8 ounces small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 (17-inch) parchment paper or aluminum foil squares

4 (6- to 8-oz.) fresh snapper fillets, skin on

1 lemon, quartered

4 tablespoons butter

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 400°. Snap off tough ends of asparagus, and discard. Toss together asparagus, next 6 ingredients, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper. Divide mixture among parchment paper squares; top each with 1 snapper fillet, skin side up. Sprinkle with remaining salt, and drizzle with remaining oil. Squeeze juice from lemon over fillets; and top each with 1 Tbsp. butter. Bring parchment paper sides up over mixture; fold top, and twist ends to seal. Place packets on a baking sheet.

Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140° to 145° when inserted through paper into fish. Place packets on plates, and cut open. Serve immediately.

PARCHMENT IS BEST FOR: Fish fillets that are about 1 inch thick, such as snapper, flounder, sole, striped bass, and salmon.

EXPERT ADVICE: Packets must be tightly sealed so they don't come undone while baking. Make small, snug, overlapping folds to seal each bundle, and then twist the tail ends tightly closed.

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