Don’t be scared by posh french words, this is simple!
En papillote simple means cooked in parchment, the joy of en papillote is serving it at the table so your guests get to open the parcel and get all the fragrances you have cooked in to the dish. This method will basically steam the dish in what ever aromatics you want to infuse the dish with.
True en papillote requires four pieces of parchment cunningly crafted into a little box, so that a simple pull on one side will open in a flower and wow the guests. I use one sheet of parchment folded like a fish and chip supper. This will still open easily at the table, but isn’t such a faff.
You can get the same cooking effect if you use tin foil or a paper bag, but these are not suitable for serving at the table.
If you don’t have parchment, or you are not serving at the table, you can use foil or a paper bag to get the same results.
Mine is a simple blend of acidic wine and lemon to compliment the fatty feel of the fish. Fennel finely sliced adds a touch of aniseed to freshen the whole thing.
You will see people use rosemary, dill, lime, chili, garlic, cardamon, tarragon, Pernod, or wasabi just to name a few. These are all Aromatics. that is gives out a strong smell when heated. The basic recipe just doesn;t change but enjoy trying different fragrances.
4 salmon fillet
pinch of crushed dry chili, parsley and garlic
3 oz fennel ( if you don’t have fresh fennel just use a sprinkle of fennel seeds)
glug of white wine (columbard is fantastic)
Arrange the salmon on the parchment and all the ingredients on top.
Fold two sides of the parchment over the top of the fish and fold the top over twice so that if forms a tight seal. fold the other sides in, folding three or four times, to make a tight seal again.
I have not gone into great explanations on the folding techniques, as this can be as pretty or slap dash as you want. The only thing to make sure of is that the steam can not escape from the parcel.
Set the oven to gas mark 7 and bake for 9-12 minutes, The salmon can be slightly translucent inside. If you don’t like it that way go for the full 12 minutes.
Eats well with baby new potatoes and wilted spinach.