Fish Foiled Again!

Special to The Times

The tropics conjure up images of leisure for me, so it's fitting that this tropical fish requires little more than easy assembly. Once the coconut rice is started and the papaya-topped fish is tucked in foil, I can sit for a few minutes, rising just to stir the rice.

Each piece of fish cooks in its own packet, making cleanup minimal. You'll have just the rice pot to wash.

Select fish filets less than 1-inch thick and relatively uniform in size to ensure proper cooking. Fresh pineapple slices from the produce section make a nice finish to the meal.

Plates and placemats from Crate & Barrel.

Tropical Fish in Foil
Active Work Time: 10 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

1 large papaya, slightly underripe

1 (2-inch) piece ginger root, peeled

Nonstick cooking spray

4 (6-ounce) red snapper filets

Salt, Pepper

3/4 cup orange juice

2 shallots, minced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Peel the papaya with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the papaya in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the papaya halves cut side down and cut in 1/2-inch slices. Set aside.

Cut the ginger root lengthwise into rectangles about 1/4-inch thick. Stack the rectangles and cut them into thin matchstick pieces. Cut the pieces in half lengthwise. Set aside.

Cut 4 pieces of heavy-duty foil about 6 inches longer than the fish filets. Spray the foil lightly with nonstick spray. (If you're using regular foil, stack together 2 pieces, shiny side down, for each packet.)

Place each filet on a piece of foil, season with salt and pepper and spoon 3 tablespoons of orange juice over the top. Divide the papaya slices among the fish, setting them on top so they're overlapping slightly. Place the ginger pieces on top and sprinkle with the shallots.

To seal the packets, bring the long sides of the foil up over the fish and fold the edges. Fold again, crimping the foil to form a tight seal. Press the foil to the fish. Double-fold the ends in toward the fish. Be careful not to tear the foil.

Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake until the fish flakes with a fork, 15 minutes. Carefully unfold one end of the packet, letting the steam escape. Then open the top. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

4 servings. Each serving: 207 calories; 154 mg sodium; 63 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 36 grams protein; 0.73 gram fiber.

Quick Coconut Rice
Active Work Time: 5 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup rice

Shake the coconut milk before opening. Stir the coconut milk, water and salt together in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender and the moisture is absorbed, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

4 servings. Each serving: 304 calories; 603 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 1.03 grams fiber.


Tropical Fish in Foil

Quick Coconut Rice

Fresh Pineapple Slices



Orange juice




1 (14-ounce) can

unsweetened coconut milk

Green onions

Ginger root


Pineapple slices


4 (6-ounce) red snapper



30 minutes before: Heat oven. Start rice.

25 minutes before: Slice papaya and ginger root. Mince shallots.

20 minutes before: Form fish packets.

15 minutes before: Bake fish.

10 minutes before: Chop cilantro.

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