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Salmon en Papillote from Julia & Jacques



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of food and go right to the truth."

~ Jacques Pepin

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Salmon en Papillote

Julia and Jacques
Cooking at Home

Julia Child and Jacques Pepin,
1999, Alfred A. Knopf

“A classic way to cook a fish fillet is to seal it inside a tightly folded package of parchment paper and bake it briefly in a hot oven. Known as en Papillote, this
gentle method cooks the enclosed fish in its own moisture and creates its own
sauce of natural juices. Cooking en Papillote is also fun – assembling and wrap-
ping the fish and seasonings in paper – and it is thrilling to open the package at
the table, revealing a beautifully cooked dish and releasing all the pent-up
aromas in one heady burst.
Our recipes give you two salmon fillets with different vegetable garnishes, and
our two quite different ways of making the paper case – Jacques’s carefully shaped
and dramatically inflated enclosure, and Julia’s easier fold-and-pin package. You
can use either for your own fish creation – both produce fine results – and you can
substitute any fish fillet or steak: red snapper, halibut, cod, and swordfish, among
many others. En Papillote is also an excellent method for cooking various cuts of
meat as well as poultry and vegetables.”


“With a handsome package such as Jacques’s, you can neatly cut the top open
at the table with a pair of scissors, the way a maître d’hôtel would do in a swank restaurant, then eat your fish right from it. But for informal occasions, I just fold
the paper up tightly and use pins to keep it shut. After cooking, slice or tear the
paper open and slide the fish and its juices onto the plate. Cooking en Papillote
does not have to be fancy – it’s a fine method for everyday cooking.
The different garnishes described show how to vary the flavors of a dish. Yet, as always, you can adapt these recipes to what you have on hand. If you don’t have shallots, use scallions. If your tomatoes are hard or tasteless, mix the pieces with moister pieces of canned tomato. And you can use other kinds of herbs, if you
have them, rather than parsley."

Julia’s Salmon Fillet en Papillote with
Shallots and Tomato

Yield: 1 fillet, serving 1

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft
1 skinless salmon fillet, 6 to 8 ounces
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon very finely minced shallots (or scallions)
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato garnish
Whole leaves of flat-leaf parsley, about a dozen

Special equipment:  A sheet of parchment paper,
about 20 inches by 15 inches; a cookie sheet

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Smear the butter in the very center of the parchment paper.
Season each side of the salmon with a big pinch of salt and several grinds
of pepper, and lay the salmon, its most attractive side up, on the buttered
area of the paper.
Mix the minced shallots and tomato together and spread on top of the
salmon fillet. Scatter the parsley leaves over and around the fish.
Lift the shorter (15-inch) sides of the parchment so the edges meet right
above the salmon, like a tent. Fold over several times, then fold the sides
together. Crimp the folds tightly with your fingers, or use several pins at
the end to seal the package completely.
Set the package on the cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes for a fillet less
than an inch thick, or 10 minutes for a thick fillet 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick.
To serve, carefully transfer the package to a dinner plate, remove the pins
if you have used them, and simply unfold or cut the parchment open. If
you’d rather remove the package before eating, cut or tear the paper
alongside the fillet, and slide the fish right onto the plate.



“The reason for folding a large case and inflating it as I do is not just to make
a beautiful presentation. The principle of en papillote cooking is to create a
kind of hothouse atmosphere. You need to inflate the case – before it goes in
the oven – so there is enough air space between the food and the dome of the
package. Then the hot, very moist air can circulate all around, as in a pres-
sure cooker, cooking everything very quickly but keeping it moist. If you crimp
your paper tightly, it’s easy to blow it up like a balloon – in restaurants I use
a bicycle pump, but at home I just blow into a straw.
Even if you are using a quick method like Julia’s, without inflating, it’s a good
idea to leave some air space on top of the fish. One of the simplest ways to cook
en Papillote is to use an ordinary brown paper bag – just put your fish in the
bottom and fold the top over. You can also use aluminum foil for your package
– which I do when I cook fish en Papillote on an outdoor grill.”

Jacques’s Salmon Fillet en Papillote with
Zucchini, Carrot, and Shiitake Mushrooms

Yield: 1 fillet, serving 1

1 skinless salmon fillet, 6 to 8 ounces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fine julienne of zucchini, about 3 inches long
1/4 cup fine julienne of carrot, about 3 inches long
1/4 cup very thin slices of fresh shiitake mushroom
(about 1 medium cap, stem removed)
Whole leaves of flat-leaf parsley, about 10
1 tablespoon or so unsalted butter

Special equipment: A rectangular sheet of parchment paper,
24 inches by 16 inches; a cookie sheet

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Fold the paper in half. Season both sides of the fillet with half the salt and pepper and place it in the center of one half of the parchment sheet. Scatter the slivered vegetables and the parsley leaves over and around the fillet, dot the top with butter, and season with the remaining salt and pepper.
Fold and inflate the parchment casing [the cookbook has photographs illustrating the process]: After arranging the salmon and vegetables in the center of one half of the parchment paper, fold the other half over.
Start at one end to and pleat the paper along the edge.
Continue folding and pleating the edge, making a half circle.
To secure the folds, press down firmly with the edge of a small ramekin
or cup, rubbing it back and forth over the pleats.
Twist closed after last fold.
Now open the twist just enough to insert a straw into it.
Blow through the straw until the package is fully inflated.
After removing the straw and twisting the opening closed, paint the surface
of the parchment lightly all over with vegetable oil.
Set the package on the cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes for a thin fillet
(less than an inch) or 10 minutes for a thick fillet (1 inch or more).
To serve, carefully transfer the package to a dinner plate and simply unfold
or cut the parchment open. If you’d rather remove the package before
eating, cut or tear the paper alongside the fillet, and slide it right onto
the plate.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Antoine's Pompano en Papillote
Gravlax - Julia & Jacques
Ralph Brennan's Redfish en Papillote
Salmon with Moutarde de Meaux and
Tomato Beurre Blanc


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