Healthy family recipe: Salmon en papillote

This French inspired recipe packages seasonal flavors with fresh salmon in adorable individual pouches. En papillote is a classic cooking technique that involves baking food items in its own aroma and juices.

Because the food is wrapped in parchment paper (“en papillote”) or foil, moist heat is created and finishes cooking off the protein and vegetables before condensing into a flavorful sauce.  The addition of tarragon which has notes of anise, along with the lemony essence of thyme, compliment the salmon beautifully.

If you’re not a fan of salmon, try substituting either cod, tilapia, bass, monkfish or even shrimp! Because this dish is cooked in the oven via moist heat, no addition of fat is necessary, which makes this dish low in fat and the flavors alone will be enough to win you and your guests over.

Salmon en Papillote

Serving: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 (4 to 5 ounces) skinless salmon fillets (or cod, tilapia, monkfish, shrimp)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, julienned
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 10 sprigs of thyme and/or tarragon
  • ¼ cup of white wine or vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 (12 x 18 inch) pieces of parchment paper or foil

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Prepare the vegetables: Lightly press to peel the garlic cloves and thinly slice using a chef knife or mandoline slicer. Remove the stalk and cut the root of the fennel bulb. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and thinly slice using a chef knife or mandoline slicer. Save the stalks to use in place of celery in other fish or chicken recipes. Cut the sides off the bell pepper and thinly slice with a chef knife. Roughly chop the tarragon and/or remove thyme leaves from the stem. Using a serrated knife, cut the tomato in slices and then stack and cut lengthwise. Proceed to chop the tomato and set aside. Combine all of the vegetables, except for the chopped tomato, and herbs in a bowl and mix. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Evenly divide the vegetable mixture among the four pieces of parchment paper or foil.
  • Place one fillet on top of each bed of vegetables and top with the chopped tomatoes.
  • Bring together the sides of the parchment paper and fold. Roll one end of the parchment and pour 1 tablespoon of white wine or stock into the other end before rolling it closed.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 – 24 minutes.
  • Serve with brown rice, whole wheat couscous, or quinoa.

Cuadros, a Drexel University student majoring in nutrition, is interning with the Healthy Weight Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.