Monday, July 16, 2012

Salmon en Papillote

It's another "The Daring Kitchen" challenge. This time it is super healthy cooking style - en papillote. Almost anything, tightly wrapped in a parchment paper, cooks in an oven, steaming in its own juices or with added liquid (often it's a splash of wine). Result is highly flavorful and tasty dish with added fun of unwraping the pack right at the table - well, it's not always the case, often contains of a package served fancy style, on a beautiful plate, but I love the "unwrapping" part and would not rub my guests off this playful part of a meal :)
Fish, especially salmon, is a perfect candidate for cooking "en papillote". That is why it was my choice number one (ha! I'm pesco-ovo-lacto-vegetarian too!).  As I adore any type of pasta, so I went ahead and added pasta to it. Next thing is vegetables, of course. I julienned them to get it cooked fast, "in-line" with a salmon which cooks fast. Seasonings of a choice and few drops of wine and butter - that's it! Easy, healthy, delicious - just the way I like!
As my men still eat meat, I've put together Chicken en Papillote.. and Mushroom en Papillote to use the red wine and corn penne pasta I wanted to try out too.

Notes along the way

- As cool and fun as this cooking style is, it is not feasible, unfortunately, to serve it to my usual guests just because I have too many of them! Can you imagine to fit 12 en papillote packs in a oven at the same time?

- One note about using red wine for en papillote pasta dishes - it stains the pasta and spoils the prettiness of it, so it's better to use white wine .. or red pasta when using red wine!

- Also, it seems that, for en papillote style, using dry herbs in place of fresh ones is the better option. Fresh herbs does not have nice look coming out of oven - at least that's the case for me, I'll be using dry herbs next time (although I prefer fresh herbs almost always).

Salmon en Papillote

To serve 4:

1 lb fresh salmon filet cut in strips
4 servings of rice noodles (or wheat noodles)
1 fennel bulb, julienned
1 small yellow squash, julienned
1 small zucchini, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
zest from 1 lemon
9 red peppercorns (optional)
parsley (fresh or dry)
16 tbs white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
4 small pieces of butter
Parchment paper for packing

- Cook noodles according package direction. When cooked and drained, add some olive oil and stir to have nice and loose  noodles. Set aside.

- Cut 4 squares of parchment paper, approximately 12"x12" (depending on a width of your parchment paper roll). Fold each square diagonally and cut heart shaped pieces out of it (see my photos below).

- Lightly toss together vegetables with about one tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley. Set aside.

- Start assembling the packages: on a one half of heart-shaped paper, close to a middle line, place noodles, top it with vegetables. Place salmon pieces, salted and peppered on a top of it.

- Cover loaded half of "heart" with another half and begin to fold edges, starting from the "top of heart" - please refer to my pictures, they tell it all :)  Close to the lower end of heart, create some kind of funnel (hole) and pour about 4 tablespoons of white wine right from the bottle into the package (lift package away from yourself to make wine fill the farthest corners of a "heart". Finish folding twisting the end and securing it with a paper clip or whatever you think can be used there.

- Place all packages on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (about 300F) for about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of your salmon pieces.

- Take baking sheet out and distribute packages to your people. Tear the pack in a middle and enjoy! Be careful when getting your nose too close to the steaming hole when inhaling all that wonderful aroma!

Pouring wine into opening in a package.

Great return .. from the oven!
Carefully, it's steaming hot!

Do you see those wonderful juices?

Mushroom or Chicken En Papillote

1 lb chicken breast or portabella mushrooms, cut in strips
4 servings of corn penne pasta (or wheat noodles)
1 red pepper, sliced in sticks
1 small zucchini, sliced in sticks
1 carrot, sliced in sticks
16 tbs white wine ( I actually used red wine which stained (bad boy) my pasta!)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 bay leaves
olive oil
4 small pieces of butter or ghee
Parchment paper for packing

- Please, please.. I believe in you - see directions above, it is basically the same! :))))) And here are pictures: 

Chicken en papillote for carnivores is ready to be packed and go to the oven.

And here is mushroom en papillote (ghee is on a top) for us, soft and fluffy vegetarians (can you feel my sarcasm? :))

Packed "baggy" style

My carnivores said it was very delicious. Just to make it ideal add enough white wine (not red wine which make pasta bad-looking boys, stained with red).

Mushroom En Papillote - lovely! Zero-guilt tasty dish - what else to wish for?

Blog-checking lines: Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.


  1. Your photos are gorgeous! Your salmon looks so yummy

  2. Great job with this challenge! It sounds like you learned some great pointers for the future as well.
    It's been so hot here that I opted to use aluminum and grill my packets. It was such a flexible technique!


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