2cupscherry tomatoeshalved (or quartered if larger than 2"-inches diameter)
1garlic clovefinely chopped
½teaspoonground fennel seed
½teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
1small fennel bulbstems trimmed and fronds reserved
1teaspoonfresh lemon juice
1leekwhite part only, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1poundcod or other flaky white fishcut into 4 4-ounce portions
4sprigs fresh thyme
4teaspoonsanise-flavored liqueur such as Pernod or Ricardoptional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Toss the tomatoes with the garlic, fennel seed, black pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
Remove the tough outer layer from the fennel bulb. Thinly shave the fennel with a mandoline or a sharp knife and combine in another bowl with the remaining tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon juice and the leek.
Fold 4 pieces of parchment paper (12 x 16 inches) in half, then open them flat on a work surface. Place an equal portion tomatoes (about ¼ cup) on the sheets to one side of the fold. Place a portion of fish over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the fish with a little salt, then top with some of the fennel mixture, 1 tablespoon butter and a thyme sprig. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the Pernod over if using.
Fold the parchment to close. Starting at a corner, make overlapping pleated folds all around to form a half-moon shaped package. The packages can be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 4 hours in advance of baking.
Place the packages on 2 rimmed baking sheet (2 per sheet) and bake for 10 minutes. Let them rest 10 minutes.
Transfer the packages to serving plates and cut open with scissors – sprinkle the fish with reserved fennel fronds and serve immediately.
The packages can be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 4 hours in advance of baking.
Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur from France. If you don't have it, leave it out or substitute an equal amount of dry white wine.