If I were classy and eloquent and French like Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmande (my hero) I would tell you that my favorite summer meal is called "poisson en papillote."
Being straightforward and American, I have to tell you: at my house we say "Fish-in-a-bag."
Regardless of what you call it, this dish is delicious.
The first time I had fish-in-a-bag was memorable. Most of my relatives were staying in a house by the sea near Cape Cod. We spent all day outside walking along the beach, throwing rocks and watching the waves crash into the sand. The weather was perfect and we were happy to be together.
Now my Mom makes fish-in-a-bag every summer and I love it!
The classic way to make fish-in-a-bag is in a parchment paper packet. That is also the hard way. The easy way is to use tin foil. You need a piece that is roughly the size of a small cookie sheet. Or, if you want to be chic like my Mom, you can also use a brown paper lunch bag lined with parchment paper. The great thing about this meal is that it's very versatile. As long as you have a starch, onions, tomatoes, an acid, salt and a piece of fish, you can make fish-in-a-bag. All of the other ingredients are added touches.
I like to use:
1 large bell pepper, julienned
1 small onion, julienned
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
the juice and zest of one lemon
salt to taste (I used about a teaspoon of kosher salt)
*1T capers and 3T chopped olives if your dining companion is into that sort of thing.
(this makes enough for 4-6, depending on how hungry you are!)
Preheat oven to 450. Let the vegetable mixture sit for at least an hour or until you see liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Place pre-cooked (al dente) pasta, rice, quinoa, polenta or grilled crusty bread onto flat tin foil. Spoon vegetable mixture over the starch until it is covered. Place a small filet of white fish (I used haddock) on top of the vegetables. Put a few more vegetables on top of the fish (making sure to use the rendered liquid) and fold the tin foil into a packet so that the food inside of it will steam. Bake for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet. Let packets rest outside of the oven for five minutes before opening. Serve immediately with feta cheese and pine nuts.