Join Me in the Kitchen: Grilled Fresh Fish Packets

Vicki McGraw
Vicki McGraw, Jamestown Gazette Contributing Writer

What a summer we are having! I don’t ever recall having a warmer, dryer summer…it has been great for outdoor events but not so much for the farmers.  The fields are parched and sad looking in many areas!  We had a wonderful week’s vacation earlier this month traveling south to Virginia Beach.  We enjoyed the trip immensely, but were saddened by the condition of the crops along the way, and I now worry about how the market prices will increase because of the lower yield of the crops.  It is a matter of supply and demand….

One thing that was plentiful on our vacation was seafood!  I think I had seafood of varying types every day.  Raw or steamed, broiled or grilled…I love it all!  When I travel I always try to be adventurous at meal time…  Why eat the same things I can eat at home when there are new and unusual local specialties to try?  And not just the food, but restaurants, as well;  we can go to a chain restaurant at home any time, so we like to look for places the local residents go, those not on the “main drag,” if you will!  I like to get away from the main road and look for a place that has a lot of cars in the parking lot.  Locals always know the best places to go!

One of our kid’s favorite restaurants in Virginia Beach is a huge seafood buffet.  I am not over-estimating when I say they have at least one hundred different seafood dishes on the buffet.  It is a gastronomic explosion of flavor combinations and presentations.  I am very adventurous, so my plate will usually contain a spoonful of most everything I can’t identify on the buffet!  How do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it?  Casseroles, of course, such as seafood and pasta, but also many different fresh fish varieties, some stuffed, others broiled, baked or fried.  Shell fish galore: clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, crab legs and soft shells, all prepared in both traditional and unique ways.  Cold salads as well as soups; the list of dishes was never ending and always quickly replenished. I can’t imagine the flow in the kitchen!

When I get home from a restaurant, the first thing I find myself doing is trying to figure out the recipes of my favorite dishes. This usually leads me to the supermarket to pick up any ingredients that I don’t think I can get at home…thus the need for an extra piece of luggage for the trip home!  When I do get home, I find my purse stuffed with scraps of paper with recipe ideas scribbled on them.  Such is the life of a “foodie”…you can never really leave the kitchen!

Following this most recent trip, I came home with two new seasonings, am working on recipes for four new entrees, and can’t wait to start thinking about the next type of food I want to try!

Grilled Fresh Fish Packets

  • 4- 5-6 oz fish fillets (any variety of firm, white  fleshed fish works)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 summer squash, sliced
  • 1/4 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • ½ yellow sweet pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 T butter
  • 4 large sheets (12”x15”) heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Baking spray


Spray foil with baking spray.  Place fish fillet in center of foil.  Sprinkle with pepper and top with veggies and lemon slices.  Season with additional salt and pepper (and any other flavors you like, such as southwest seasonings, veggie seasonings, or citrus blend seasonings).  Top veggies with 1 tablespoon butter.  Carefully fold foil to form packet and tightly crimp all edges and seams.

Grill over medium high heat for about 15 minutes.  Let sit 5 minutes before opening.  Packet will have puffed with steam, so be careful when opening it to avoid a steam burn!