Thursday, April 26, 2012

Salmon in Parchment – Terrifyingly Easy

Cooking fish in parchment paper is incredibly simple, and yet fairly terrifying for a novice cook. Since the seafood is encased in paper, there’s really no good way to check if it’s done, and so you’re basically going on time and experience, and this can be scary for even grizzled old chefs.

The good news: if you use a large, center-cut salmon filet, about 8 or 9 ounces, and cook it for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F., you’re going to be very, very close. After making this a couple times, you’ll adjust your cooking time to suit your personal needs, and once you dial it in, it’s a foolproof technique.

So, where and how do you get some professional parchment paper? It’s as easy as finding a donut…literally. Every single bakery in existence has a box of parchment paper sitting on a shelf somewhere. It comes in large boxes, containing thousands of sheets, and if you’re nice and/or offer them a few bucks, they will happily give you some.

And the great thing about parchment paper is that it’s so thin, when they pinch you off a quarter-inch from the top of the pile, they’re actually handing you hundreds of sheets. So, for a mere $5 bribe, you’ll have a couple years worth of paper. 

Anyway, once you’ve acquired the parchment, the rest is easy. Just make sure your fish is completely thawed. It doesn’t need to be room temp, but if it’s still ice-cold, the cooking time will be longer. Also, be sure whatever vegetables you include in the packet are pre-cooked enough to finish during the 15 minute cooking time.

By the way, in addition to cooking “en papillote,” parchment paper it’s also perfect for those occasional proclamations and decrees. Speaking of which, I hereby proclaim that this was really fun and delicious, and I decree that you give salmon in parchment a try soon. Enjoy!



Ingredients:

2 large, center-cut salmon filet, 8 or 9 ounces each, boneless-skinless
2 sheets of parchment cut into large heart shape (the surface area of half your “heart” should be a little bigger than the size of a large dinner plate)
seasoning to taste
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of olive oil or butter
cooked potatoes and veggies as needed.
*Note: I served mine with a very light mustard aioli, which was simply mayo, Dijon, lemon juice and a touch of garlic.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F., then let sit 4-5 minutes before cutting open.


View the complete recipe

28 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Chibby said...

You can buy parchment@Costco up here in BC:) Big ole reels of it for a fairly decent price.

redforever said...

Parchment paper is available in rolls like saran and wax paper in pretty well every grocery store in Alberta.

You can also get it in sheets in most restaurant supply companies.

Both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca carry parchment paper as well, but most of it is shipped from Golda's Kitchen, a Canadian company. It is cheaper to order it from Golda's.

Anonymous said...

What if i where to make 4 of those?

Chef John said...

4 on 2 pans, spaced evenly, and rotated after 1/2 the time will be fine! I'd add another 2 minutes or so.

Extra Virgin Chef said...

Love that drum beat somewhere in the middle of the video. Thanks for sharing. Am so going to do this en papilotte (is that what the French call this?).

Rita said...

that looks like a parchment empanada (not when it was blowing up inside the oven). ahahaha!

Hai Wakatta said...

Could you maybe have a half a lemon inside one of them, so that the salmon steams in the evaporated lemon juice, or is that going to mess up the cooking time?

Anonymous said...

Used the technique to cook some chicken fillets with corn and beans for lunch. It was great!
Now, I am wondering if I can use it to do burgers.

Anonymous said...

I have learned so much from you...thank you! Enjoy all the recipes...but the "deflating hopes for the cup" joke was a little upsetting, seeing as how I am from BC! ;) Not sure about cheering for LA!

Steve said...

Chef:

One very tiny technical note: what you refer to as "pan" is really "zoom". Pan means to move the camera horizontally. Zoom is what you did (changing the lens focal length).

Now if you zoomed your camera while it was in the oven, a la Alton Brown, it might be a frying pan. . .

Elaine Benes said...

I wouldn't use half a lemon, Hai, but a slice or two is fine. That's usually how I do it. :)

Eve said...

I'm wondering... what is the difference from using Foil to cover them up from parchment paper? I luv this dish, cuz it's only for ONE, so for me, cuz my bf doesn't eat any seafood. But this will be my secret Delicious meal when he isn't home! lol :-)

Eardley said...

For the mustard aioli, what is the ratio? All equal parts? Thanks for this!!

♥Zoey♦ said...

how DO you come up with this stuff?

Anonymous said...

You really LOVE salmon, dont you XD

Anonymous said...

Chef John, why did you oil both sides of the parchment? Why not just one side?

Chef John said...

so it looks more translucent!

Anonymous said...

ahhhhhhh.....so for visual purposes - it's a good idea! I love your blog!!!

Daniel W. said...

My comment didn't make the cut?

Anonymous said...

I tried this today.. AMAZING! The salmon was perfect! I topped my salmon with an orangey sauce with mushrooms and carrot, and ate it with rice~ so delicious... ;) Love your recipes Chef John! <3

creepyp1 said...

I am trying this tonight, it looks soooo good and it isnt even cooked yet! I would love to send you a pic of it so you could see how well your videos work for newbie cooks like me! Lol! Cant wait to dig in!
Thanks again Chef John
Capri

Anonymous said...

I never believed I could cook a good meal till I tried this recipe out. Chef John, YOU are amazing! I topped it off w white sauce and added frozen peas/carrots/corn w broccoli and some japanese leftover corn I had in the fridge and it was soooo good. The process of watching the parchment paper rise and bloat up was rlly fun too.

Thanks once again, please don't stop providing such intriguing yet simple techniques!

Here's a link as to how mine turned out: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4w49bmDoM1r1y1ipo1_400.png

Mr Quality Control said...

If you are fortunate like me I walk out of my office and test all the parchment paper that we make here in SW Ohio..it's fun and I get to take samples home.

Cottontofu said...

Easy, quick and delicious to make, you were right, it worked really well although my creases looked terrible. Thank you Chef John for your inspiring recipes!

KathyM said...

Chef,

Tried this recipe tonight and it was absolutely delicious, thought we were at a really delicious restaurant. Thank you very much.

KathyM

Julie said...

Thank you for the video, Chef! It made dinner prep fun this evening and the salmon was so moist and cooked to perfection. As I only put the fish in the parchment, I wished I'd cut smaller pieces of parchment for presentation reasons, but it was delicious!

Pinko Foe said...

I am soooo late to this partay. I believe you will be my foodie saviour this wintah. This was such a simple and quick lunch now I get to go back to work. I opted for brussel sprouts (mmmmmmmmmm) and all worked out perfectly. I tucked right in and forgot to wait for 4-5 minutes and I was handsomely rewarded with a hot brussel sprout being spitf across the table. Good thing I dined alone. Awesome!