Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Salmon Fillet en Papillote - S7E8

Ever wanted that quick healthy, home cooked dinner within 30 minutes? Are you always having trouble finding recipes to serve one?  Well look no further, for I have found it: Salmon Fillet en Papillote (French for "in pouch") from Good Eats Season 7 Episode 8, The Pouch Principle.

This simple recipe takes just 5 minutes to cook in the microwave (if you feel uneasy about cooking fish in the microwave, you may do so in the oven instead as well) and introduced me to some new vegetables I've never had.

1/3 cup julienned fennel bulb
  • 1/3 cup julienned leeks, white part only
  • 1/3 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/3 cup julienned snow peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon whole coriander seed, ground fine
  • 1 (8-ounce) salmon fillet, pin bones removed
  • 1 orange cut into wedges with white, pithy membrane removed
  • 1 tablespoon dry vermouth

  • First, the prep work.  Start by julienning the vegetables, which I learned how to do from our Sur La Table Essentials Knife Skills class.  I had never had leeks or fennel before this, so I was unaware of what to expect for the flavor, let alone know what they look like when I was at the grocery store.  Well, leeks look like giant green onions, literally, GIANT GREEN ONIONS ON STEROIDS.  Fennel looks like a green colored onion with thin celery stalked sprouting from the top of it and it smells like licorice.
When cutting the leeks, use on the white part at the bottom as the green parts are bitter.  When cutting the fennel, only the bulb in necceary.  You can save the rest of these unused parts to flavor your stocks or as aromatics in other dishes.  P.S. I purchased my first knife as you can see on the left, a Global 5 3/4 inch Narkiri.

Next, roll out about 18"-24" of parchment paper and fold it in half like a book.  Then cut out half of a heart in the folded parchment paper so when you unfold it, it looks like a heart.  Lay down the julienned vegetables on one half to make a bed for the salmon.  

Season the vegetable bed then lay salmon filet and orange slices on the bed.  Season the salmon and drizzle some dry vermouth over everything.  Finally fold over the other half of the heart and start crimp/folding the edges to create a makeshift seal.

Final assembly before oven

The purpose of this dish was for a quick meal, so AB recommends using a microwave to cook the pouch on high for 4 minutes.  Since I was making 2 pouches simultaneously, he also said we could use the oven set to 425 degrees for 12 minutes.

When completed, the salmon is cooked perfectly--flakey and tender.  The vegetables are soft and very flavorful.  At first I didn't think this was going to be enough to fill me up, but this turned out to be plenty.

I would gladly make this again as the cook time is very short and there is minimal cleanup at the end, which I'm sure everyone will be happy about, chefs and patrons alike.  

As for cost, if you don't buy at Whole Foods, you can probably save there, but it'll still cost about $5-$7 per fillet.  You could also use any vegetables you'd like or have on had at the time.  I would probably skip the fennel since it cost about $4 for 1 and I only used about 3/4 of it.  This time around, the dish cost about $12 per person, due to the vermouth.  But next time, substituting the fennel for another vegetable and already having the vermouth on hand, it would cost about $8 per person, so not too shabby for a quick and healthy meal.


1 organic leek    - $0.84
1 organic fennel - $3.98
2 6-ounce salmon fillets - $13.98
2 manderin oranges - $1.07
1 375ml extra dry vermouth - $4.99

On Hand:
parchment paper - $5.99
bag of organic carrots - $5.99

1 comment:

  1. Seriously, you've never had leeks? Anyway, I'm cooking this tonight, it's in the oven at the moment. :)