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Easy Elegant Baked Fish, South Texas Style

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Fiesta cookbookWhile covering the barbecue trail across Texas last fall, I managed to pick up a few cookbooks from various regions that offered culinary pictures of what people in the area made at some point in their history. One of these was a 1978 edition of “Fiesta: Favorite Recipes of South Texas,” which had been produced by the Junior League of Corpus Christi.

One of the great features of the book is that the easier recipes are marked with an asterisk, so they can be “prepared quickly and easily at the end of a busy day.” Here’s one, and it’s a great way to prepare fish that doesn’t lose its flavor in a heavy sauce. I made a few substitutions based on what I had handy, including celery leaves for parsley and lime for lemon. It was still an easy, flavorful dish, though my presentation may be anything but elegant.

No matter how you prepare the dish, you’ve got to love a recipe that tells you how to dress it up in style with this simple instruction: “To be really elegant, surround fish with hot boiled shrimp and a sprinkling of capers.”

Easy, Elegant Baked Fish

Easy, Elegant Baked Fish

Easy Elegant Baked Fish

1 (3-4 pound) fish
Cayenne pepper
Lemon wedges
Shrimp (optional)
Capers (optional)

Clean, scale, wash and dry fish. you may cut off head, if desired. Put generous amount of butter in cavity, spread more butter on outside. Sprinkle with a little salt and cayenne pepper. Place in generously buttered shallow casserole and cover with well-buttered brown paper cut the shape of the casserole. Bake 400 degrees about 10 minutes per pound, or about 20 minutes for fillets. To serve, garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. To be really elegant, surround fish with hot boiled shrimp and a sprinkling of capers. Sheepshead is especially good prepared this way, but redfish or snapper is fine. You may also use several small whole trout instead, or even fillets, but 1 fish is prettier.

Makes 4-6 servings.

From Mrs. Max J. Luther III (Maxine Jenkins)/”Fiesta: Favorite Recipes of South Texas”

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