How To Make Flavorful, Healthy Meals With Parchment Paper
The French call it 'en papillote'. We call it delicious.
Parchment paper is an essential item to keep in your kitchen. This non-stick paper makes baking cookies and cakes so much easier. Once your baked goods have cooled, you can fold the paper into a mini piping bag and decorate with chocolate or frosting.
There is yet another (healthier) use for parchment paper: cooking en papillote.
'En papillote' is the French technique of sealing a meal of meats and veggies in oiled parchment and baking it in the oven. Sealed up in this small packet, your meal steams in its own juices and added seasonings with no fats or oils needed. The packets are individual servings, so you can customize the meats and seasonings inside of each according to your diner's preference.
The method can be used with any tender meat of your choice, but it is most often used to cook fish and chicken breasts. It is a particularly nice way to prepare salmon as it emphasizes the flakiness of the fish. Whichever meat you choose, the method is the same: seasoned meat is placed onto a piece of oiled parchment paper and surrounded with vegetables. Oftentimes a teaspoon or two of a starter liquid (such as wine or broth) is added to start the steaming process.
The parchment paper is folded over the meat and sealed up along the edges to make an airtight packet. The individual packets are placed onto a baking sheet and roasted until done. To serve, it is traditional to cut the packet open in front of the diner so they get the initial whiff of concentrated aroma.
Watch Chef John make his Salmon in Parchment recipe below. He'll show you how to oil and fold the paper so it is airtight to keep all of the flavors inside:
Now that you've seen it done, get started with one of these recipes:
Parchment Baked Salmon (shown in the photo above)
Chef John's Salmon in Parchment (in the video above)