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Cooking En Papillote

April 4, 2012

Have you ever cooked “en papillote”? 

If you aren’t sure what that means, let me share with you this great cooking technique! En papillote is French for “in parchment,” and it’s a nutritious and delicious — or as I like to say, Nutritioulicious! — way of cooking. Food cooked in parchment paper is steamed, which results in perfectly cooked, moist food. And when you add herbs and spices you end up with a flavorful dish that is also a cinch to clean up! Plus, the presentation of “en papillote” cooking will have your friends and family feeling like they’re in a gourmet restaurant!

In the past, when I have made dishes “en papillote,” the challenging part has always been folding the parchment paper in such a way that it stays perfectly sealed. So when I received an email from the folks at PaperChef telling me about their new parchment cooking bags, I was super excited to try them! With a bag, you don’t need to worry about cutting the right amount of parchment paper or folding it in the correct way. You just slide the ingredients into the bag and fold up the opening. Put the pouch on a cookie sheet, bake in a 400-degree oven, and then cut it open. Easy as can be!

PaperChef Parchment Bags

In a recent issue of Everyday Food, I saw a recipe for Salmon and Spinach in Parchment and decided it was a perfect dish to try out the PaperChef parchment bags. My husband isn’t a big salmon fan, so I bought hake instead.

Hake and Spinach in Parchment (modified from Everyday Food Magazine)
Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 2 oranges, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 hake fillets (about 1 pound total)
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Divide spinach among three parchment bags. Top with orange zest and slices, hake, ginger, and shallots; season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.
Hake in Parchment Paper Bag
  1. Place packets on a baking sheet and bake until packets are puffed and fish is cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes.
Fish cooked en papillote
  1. Transfer packets to plates, cut open, and serve immediately.

Hake with spinach and oranges en papillote

The one downside to cooking in parchment bags is that it’s a little hard to get everything placed perfectly since you have to reach into a bag. Next time I’ll be sure to make a bed of spinach, rather than spreading it out in the bag.

One thing to keep in mind — cooking “en papillote” doesn’t need to be limited to fish and vegetables. You can make some great desserts in parchment too. I hope to try some soon!

If you’ve cooked “en papillote,” share your favorite recipes with fellow readers below! 

Disclaimer: The nice folks at PaperChef sent me a box of Parchment Cooking Bags, but I was not paid to promote this product. All opinions are my own.

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