Parchment paper - not just for the Magna Carta

I may have just entered into a whole new realm of cooking. I saw a minute of a cooking show yesterday featuring salmon fillets cooked in parchment paper and was intrigued as I tend to occasionally - albeit slightly - overcook fish. The theory is all the moisture stays inside the packet steaming the food.  I may have heard about this supposedly foolproof method for cooking fish before but never paid it any mind. Tonight I did.

Photo by Susan Wenzel 
I bought four nice wild-caught Pacific salmon fillets (only wild will do) and began to consider my options. The tv chef I watched had topped the salmon with salt, pepper, haricot vert (fancy talk for real skinny French green beans. Haricot is French for “bean” and vert is French for – you guessed it – “green”) and some other stuff. I had the beans in the freezer, and a couple of my own ideas.

I tore off four big pieces of parchment paper and coated each piece of salmon on both sides with about ½ T olive oil. I put one fillet per piece of paper and sprinkled on a little Fumee de Sel Chardonnay Oak Smoked Sea Salt (from The Spice House) and a few grinds of Tellicherry peppercorns (my new favorite). I topped each with about a dozen of the whole green beans and a few super thin round slices of sweet onion (done with my Benriner Japanese Mandolin Slicer ® that does an awesome job on fingers too – but that’s another story).

I folded together the middles of each parchment and twisted shut the ends then popped all four fillets in the oven on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

The finished product was attractive, moist and, more importantly, delicious. I can only imagine the possibilities for parchment cooking. Probably almost any kind of fish (whole or fillet), shrimp, even scallops would work – and the topping choices would be endless – fresh or dried herbs, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, lemon slices, garlic, capers, spicy mustard, chives, cilantro, lemon grass, Thai chilies...yum.

P.S. Check out this cool way to fold the parchment. (Although my method worked just as well.)  

Did I mention cleanup is also a cinch?  I'm sold!

No comments:

Post a Comment