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It's all in the bag — salmon en papillote


Associated Press

Fish en papillote is the elegant-sounding name of a staple recipe of classic French cuisine. In English, it becomes the much less elegant-sounding "fish in a bag." By any name, though, this method of baking fish is a smash.

Typically, the fish is combined with vegetables and herbs, some butter or oil, and often some wine. All of this is wrapped up in a piece of kitchen parchment and baked. The parchment keeps the flavor and moisture trapped inside during cooking, allowing the juices from the fish and the other ingredients to mingle and become a wonderful sauce.

And because the parchment is stick-resistant, the recipe requires little fat. The oil in this recipe is there for taste and texture only.

In this recipe, the few ingredients I've added to the salmon are in the service of the sauce. But if you wanted to make a whole meal in a bag, you could add sauteed mushrooms, blanched broccoli or carrots, and steamed potato cubes.

If you do add vegetables, they'll need to be precooked. The denser vegetables like carrots and broccoli simply won't have time to get tender during the 10 to 12 minutes of cooking needed by the salmon. Similarly, if wetter veggies like mushrooms and spinach aren't precooked, they'll release too much liquid in the packet and water down the sauce.

To know if the fish is done, start with the basic rule: In a 400-degree oven, give it 10 minutes of cooking time for every inch of thickness.



1 small orange

1 lemon

Four skinless 6-ounce center cut salmon fillet pieces

¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

⅓ cup pitted and chopped olives, preferably oil-cured

½ serrano chili, thinly sliced crosswise

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the orange and lemon in half crosswise. Thinly slice ½ of the orange and ½ of the lemon into thin slices. Juice the remaining halves of both fruits.

Set a 24-inch-long sheet of kitchen parchment on a baking sheet. Fold the sheet in half across the short side, then open the folded parchment (like a book), leaving half of it on the baking sheet. Arrange about half of the orange and lemon slices in a single layer in the center of the parchment on the baking sheet.

Sprinkle half the rosemary over the citrus slices. Set the salmon over the rosemary, then sprinkle with salt, the citrus juices and oil. Scatter the olives and chili over the salmon pieces. Top each piece of salmon with a quarter of the remaining rosemary and citrus slices.

Fold the second half of the parchment over the fish, then crimp and fold the edges together to create a sealed packet. Bake — on the sheet pan — on the oven's middle shelf for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just cooked through. (Stick a paring knife through the parchment and salmon; it should move easily through the fish if done.)

Cut open the parchment, discard the citrus slices from the top of the salmon, then place each piece of fish on a serving plate. Spoon some of the olives, chilies, rosemary and juices over each piece.

Serves 4.

Nutrition information per serving: 440 calories; 260 calories from fat (59 percent of total calories); 29g fat (5g saturated; 0g trans fats); 100mg cholesterol; 9g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 5g sugar; 35g protein; 490mg sodium.

It's all in the bag — salmon en papillote 01/21/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 2:37pm]
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