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Pesce in Paper?

Tuesday, 21 September 2021 16:53

By Dan Clarke

The first time I enjoyed fish wrapped in paper was a long time ago.

That was the way fish and chips was typically served in England. The fish (usually cod, sometimes hake) wasn’t cooked in paper, but was served to the customer wrapped in a clean sheet or two of the prior day’s edition. Not sure how the newsprint custom originated, but it seemed convenient and nobody complained about ink-allergies,

 Over the years I’ve enjoyed fish cooked in parchment—another fish and paper parley, albeit of a more sophisticated nature. Prepared this way, the fish seemed to retain a purity of flavor—just the essence of the fish (plus whatever herbs had been added).  These experiences were always in restaurants. For whatever reasons, I’ve never attempted to replicate these chef-driven successes in my own kitchen. It may be time to give this method a try and the following treatment of salmon as presented by Washington Grown will be my guideline. It’s too late in the year to find any fresh Washington-grown asparagus for this dish, but you can carry on with spears imported from South America or Mexico.

Salmon is a versatile fish to pair with wine. Some of its bolder preparations can even be complemented by Pinot Noir and other lighter reds, but this Salmon in Parchment calls for white. We’d suggest a Sauvignon Blanc or dry Riesling.


Salmon in Parchment

 From WashingtonGrown.com  

Serves 6



6 – 8 oz. portions of salmon, skinless

5 Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/8” thick slices

1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and trimmed

2 lemons, cut into 1⁄4” thick slices and halved

Salt and pepper

6 sheets of parchment paper (around 15 x 18”)

Compound butter:

1⁄2 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1⁄4 Cup Italian parsley, minced

1⁄4 Cup Kalamata olives, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried dill

1 tsp peppercorns, cracked

1⁄4 tsp sea salt



Preheat oven to 425°. Make the compound butter by combining all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mixing well with a fork until evenly combined and distributed. Set aside.

Lay one sheet of parchment paper on flat work surface and arrange potato slices in the middle of the bottom half of the parchment. Aim for the potato base layer to be about 10” wide and 5” tall, with the potato slices barely overlapping each other. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Place 4-5 asparagus spears atop the potato base.

Place a salmon portion atop the asparagus. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper and then evenly spread 1 TBSP of the compound butter atop the salmon portion. Place 3 halved lemon slices atop the compound butter. Fold the parchment paper over the salmon and beginning on the left side, fold the paper over 1⁄4”. Continue folding and pressing the seam down with your finger until you reach the row of potatoes. Fold across the entire packet until you are left with a fully sealed rectangle of parchment. Press down any seams that appear to be unrolling. Carefully place the salmon packet on a baking sheet. (If needed, you can now refrigerate the packet for up to 4 hours.)

Bake the salmon in parchment for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 3 minutes. Serve on individual plates and allow each person to unwrap their parchment.

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 September 2021 17:03


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