Salmon en Papillote

Salmon in Papillote 1

Nathan and I have a friend staying with us in D.C. this weekend and, since the government is shut down and it’s been cloudy and raining, we haven’t had a lot of fun activities to suggest. Most of the museums are closed and our hike/picnic in Rock Creek Park was rained out.

Fortunately, our friend likes to cook so she was down with spending a good chunk of saturday afternoon/evening in the kitchen. When I asked her if she had a recipe that she would like to try making for the blog she suggested fish en papillote and we were more than happy to oblige!

Saying something in French makes it sound so fancy doesn’t it? ‘En papillote’ just means ‘in parchment’ and that is all this recipe is: baking fish in parchment paper!

Salmon was our fish of choice and we placed our fillet over a bed of fennel before topping it with lemon and garlic and then sealing it in a parchment packet. This method of baking salmon is pretty much fool proof and yields a juicy and tender result that tastes like it took more time than it actually did. I’m excited to try other fish and shellfish ‘en papillote’ as this method seals in moisture and flavor and steams the contents from inside out. It’s fancy enough for a special meal and quick enough for a weeknight give it a try!

Simply Naked
Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Simply Naked Unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand 2011
Rating: 8.75 out of 10.0

This is the first wine from New Zealand to be featured on the blog and we were impressed….especially with how well it paired with our meal! It is a crisp, juicy and refreshing wine with citrus and pineapple flavors and a totally unoaked taste. It complemented the lemony notes in the fish and contrasted with the richer nature of the salmon. I would highly recommend this inexpensive and tasty wine for your next fish meal!

Saison Dupont
Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Saison Dupont, 2013
Rating: 8.00 out of 10.0

A saison is definitely the right style to go with for this fish dish. However, while this classic saison from Belgium is highly regarded it didn’t work for me as well as I had hoped. The bottle that I got was far too carbonated and even with a super slow pour down the side of the glass I still ended up with a good 4 inches of foamy head. And while head retention is usually a good thing it isn’t when there is so much of it! The aroma was sweet like bubble-gum while the head was settling but the taste was fairly good. Crisp and light with spicy and acidic flavors and just a hint of citrus from the dry hops it was a very refreshing drink. I’ll have to pick up another bottle some time soon to see if it changes my mind about this beer.

Salmon in Papillote 2

Salmon en Papillote

Loosely based on this recipe


1 small fennel bulb, stalks discarded
1 lemon, sliced into circles
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
1 (1 1/2-lb) piece center-cut salmon fillet
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Special equipment: a mandoline or other manual slicer, 2 (15-inch) squares parchment paper


1.Place a large baking sheet on bottom rack of oven and remove any other racks. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Halve fennel bulb lengthwise. Remove most of core, leaving enough intact to keep layers together when sliced.

3. Using a mandoline or knife, cut fennel bulb lengthwise. Toss fennel with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Arrange fennel on one square of parchment paper.

4. Drizzle the salmon with oil and rub the crushed garlic into the fish. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place on top of fennel. Arrange lemon slices and fennel fronds on top of the fillet.

5. Place the second sheet of parchment paper over the fish and roll the edges of the paper together and in towards the fish to seal the package.

6. Place the package directly on hot baking sheet in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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