Yield
Serves 4

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare fish, because it’s so light, easy, and flavorful -- not to mention beautiful! You can make the parchment packages several hours in advance and keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready. Feel free to use any type of squash or zucchini, though baby zucchini are especially cute.

  • 2 small summer squash, thinly sliced into rounds (I usually use a combination of zucchini and yellow squash)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (4-ounce) fillets red snapper (or other thin fillets, such as tile fish, tilapia, redfish, or trout)
  • 20 red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, divided  
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Parchment paper 
  • Couscous, for serving 
  • Fresh, chopped basil, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Tear off four sheets of parchment paper, each about the size of a standard sheet of paper.

Place one piece of parchment paper on a clean workspace. Arrange 1/4 of the zucchini slices in the center of the parchment, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place one fish fillet on top. Scatter with 1/4 of the tomatoes, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the wine, season to taste with salt and pepper, and top with 2 sprigs of thyme. Fold the parchment lengthwise over the fish, then roll each end towards the center. Press each side down to secure. Place the packet on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining parchment and ingredients. If the parchment packages won’t stay closed, you can flip them over. Bake until the snapper is cooked through and beginning to flake, about 10 minutes.  Remove the fish from the oven and carefully open the parchment packages -- beware of the steam!

To serve, spoon some couscous on each plate and top with zucchini and 1 fillet, then spoon the tomatoes and any sauce from the parchment package on top of each. Garnish with fresh, chopped basil. Season with additional sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Kloof Street, “Old Vine,” Chenin Blanc, Swartland, 2013-$18.99 (South Africa-Organic)

With a new generation of farmers rediscovering its ancient vines, Swartland may be South Africa’s most exciting wine region right now. This Chenin Blanc has aromas of citrus and quince paste that are soft enough not to overwhelm this gentle fish preparation.

From The Yellow Table by Anna Watson Carl, Yellow Table Press 2014.