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Jul 11, 2014

Say It With Me: Salmon en Papillote

If you get home late and want to make a tasty, quick dinner ~ or if you need to pull together something impressive looking for a last minute dinner party, I'm here to rescue you with these three little words...Say it with me: Salmon en Papillote. Can't say it?  It's Salmon - ah - pah-pee-yoht. Sounds fancy huh? (Papillote is really just a snooty French word for Parchment Paper)
      QUICK RANT COMING: And for those of you who like to pronounce the "L" in salmon, let me sugar coat this for you ~ you just sound like an idiot, or a redneck! Or both. Stop doing it! There is no "L" in SALMON. It's sa-mon, not sal-mon. Do you say the "S" in island? Probably not, unless you have only a 6th grade education.  Do you say the "L" in chalk? No. I didn't think so, so don't say it in salmon. Take note, the double "ll's" in "papillote" are silent too. Are we clear here?

A beautiful piece of wild caught Alaskan Salmon
Back to saving your bacon....The other night I got home late and was digging through the refrigerator and found some asparagus, leeks, lemons and little fennel so I pulled a couple of pieces of salmon out of the freezer, thawed them in about ten minutes in bowl of cool water, and bam! in fifteen minutes we were having salmon en papillote for dinner.

Before it went into the oven

The beauty of this dish is that you can really use any kind of fish and whatever veggies and herbs you have on hand. Zucchini, carrots, ginger, snow peas, green onions, tomatoes, shallots, dill, mint, basil, bay leaf, parsley...the possibilities are endless. Not all of those at once mind you; pick out two to four things that go together; like peas and mint or tomatoes, basil and shallots.

Just make sure you cut the veggies in sizes that will cook at the same rate. Carrots will take longer than zucchini, so either cut the carrots in matchsticks or blanch them for a couple of minutes first. You get the picture.  (IMPORTANT NOTE: If all you have in your crisper drawer is radishes ~ order pizza. Radishes don't cook well and I've yet to find a wine that pairs with radishes.)

Sealed up and ready to go in the oven

Because everything is sealed up in a pretty package, the fish poaches beautifully in its own moisture, flavoring the veggies, while the veggies are lovin' up on the fish.   

Cut your parchment paper in a big heart shape. You will have a middle line (if you remember from grade school how you used to make hearts); then lay the fish and all the goodies on one side, close to the center line. Fold the other half of the heart over and beginning at the top (V-side) of the heart, begin folding it over in about 1" increments all the way around.

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish (allow 10 minutes per inch, max). I spank mine with a little pat of butter-love and then douse it with a good splash of whatever white wine I happen to be drinking at the time. Remove it from the oven, let it rest for a couple of minutes and then using scissors, make a cut down the center and open up your beautiful present. Dinner is served!

For a good example of how to cut and fold the parchment, click on this link.  A recipe is not really needed, but I did put one on the "Seafood" page, so click here if you want it spelled out.
Bon Appetit! That's French for "good appetite" or better yet, "enjoy your meal."

PRINT RECIPE:  Salmon en Papillote

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