Alas, my desire to try again won out. This time I did the research (previous attempts did not involve Google) and found a recipe for baked tilapia in parchment paper turned out just okay after two tries. So I searched and found one from Joy of Cooking that has produced zero complaints from Todd or the one son who eats fish. Only requests for more.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
The original recipe says to combine softened butter with the spices and spread it on the fish. This was messy and slippery, my first try. Here's my technique from the second go around.
With butter, grease a glass or porcelain baking dish and place:
- 2 pounds (can be a little less) skinned* and patted dry (use a paper towel) haddock, grouper, tilapia, or other white-flesh fish fillets (I used white fish, cut into four pieces)
Cut thin slices of unsalted butter (about 2 tablespoons) and scatter it on tops of fillets.
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper or paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 20-25 minutes (for me it was 25 minutes, ovens vary). Halfway through cooking you can pour two tablespoons of white wine in the dish (Joy of Cooking's tip, which I skipped).
Here's the sauce. Picky eaters can take a pass.
In a small skillet or saucepan heat over medium heat until slightly bubbling:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Careful not to let butter burn*. Once bubbling, turn off heat and stir in:
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- salt and black pepper to taste
Pour sauce over fish.
- Ask the fish guy to skin it for you (leave it to the professionals!). Or do what I did, leave the skin on (I forgot to ask fish guy) which worked just fine.
- Burnt butter is nasty, so if this happens, toss it and start over. Not that I'd know anything about that.