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Baked Red Snapper In Parchment with Julienne Vegetables

4 red snapper filets - (5 oz ea) -- scaled
Salt -- (optional)
Freshly-ground black pepper -- to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb - (abt 6 oz) -- trimmed, and sliced into julienne strips
2 leeks, white part only -- cleaned, and sliced into julienne strips
1 small zucchini - (3 oz) -- sliced julienne strips
1 garlic clove -- minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seed -- (optional)
2 small Roma tomatoes - (6 oz total) -- peeled, and sliced into julienne strips
Lemon slices for garnish -- (optional)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 4 pieces of parchment baking paper or double thickness aluminum foil into 12- by 15-inch rectangles. Fold in half from the short end and cut out a large heart shape along the fold, like a valentine. When unfolded the heart should measure about 14 inches wide and 12 inches long.


Rinse the red snapper filets; pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt (if using) and pepper to taste. Unfold the heart and lay a piece of snapper on the long side of each heart.


Arrange the vegetables over the pieces of fish in a decorative pattern. Drizzle some of the olive oil over each.


Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and crimp the edges neatly to seal completely. Transfer fish packets on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until parchment is puffed and browned and fish is opaque and flakes easily. Serve the closed packages at once, allowing each person to open their own packet at the table.


This recipe yields 4 servings.


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