GINNA PARSONS: We missed the bears, but the fish was delish

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

OK, because you’re reading this, I obviously did not succumb to a bear attack last week when my husband and I vacationed in the Smoky Mountains.
In fact, we didn’t even see a bear, or much other wildlife, for that matter. A snapping turtle eyed us curiously one morning, and more than once we had to stop in the middle of the road and honk the horn at a bunch of wild turkeys that wouldn’t budge.
I saw my first chipmunks and I must say, they’re much smaller than I imagined. Guess I’ve watched too many cartoons.
We did have a bit of scary weather – high winds, lots of rain – the night we arrived, which made pitching the tent particularly fun for Charlie. But the rest of the time, we had crisp weather, blue skies and sunshine.
Before we left home, I ran by the grocery store to pick up some provisions for the trip. I figured some of type of fish cooked in a foil packet would be good and easy, but I didn’t have a recipe with me.
So I shopped with my eyes. White fish, red bell pepper, green zucchini, yellow lemon. Fortunately, when it all came together, it was perfect. Charlie and I agreed it was the best meal of the trip.
We cooked these packets on a griddle placed over a Coleman camp stove. But I know I’ll be experimenting some more at home with foil packets on our gas grill.

Tilapia Packets
1 red bell pepper
1 zucchini
Olive oil
Lemon pepper
2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1 lemon, sliced

Slice bell pepper in rings. Slice zucchini in coins.
Spray two 12×18-inch pieces of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place pepper rings in the center of each and top with zucchini coins. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Place tilapia fillets on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Place a few lemon slices over each.
Bring the long sides of the foil together, fold over about a half-inch and crimp to seal. Repeat folding and crimping twice more. Fold ends in twice to seal completely.
Place foil packets on a hot griddle and cook for about 15 minutes, turning packets 2 to 3 times each. Remove from heat and let rest for a couple of minutes before opening packet.
Note: You can cook these in the oven. Heat oven to 500 degrees, place foil packets on a baking sheet and bake on lowest rack position for 15 minutes. Let rest 3 minutes before serving. Or, you can cook them on a gas grill. Ignite all burners on high for at least 10 minutes. Set packets on grill rack, cover and grill for 8 minutes. Remove from grill and let rest 3 minutes before serving.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.