I've been wanting to try cooking something in parchment paper or 'en papillote' ever since I had a really delicious meal in parchment at a yummy restaurant called 50 Plates in Portland a while back. Lucky for me, the most recent edition of Eating Well had a whole slew of recipes using this method. Parchment paper locks in the flavor and makes the contents taste so delicious. It's a french technique (hence the 'en papillote') and basically just steams the food - foil can also be used in place of parchment paper. It may seem intimidating if you've never cooked with parchment, but making the packets is the easiest part of the meal! I found a great short video that shows you how to cut and fold the packets here (be careful if you're at work, it's got sound!). I'd definitely recommend trying this recipe, it's especially fun for entertaining. The tarragon butter is amazing!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chopped spinach
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- 1 1/4 pounds skinned salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- To prepare packets, start with four 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of parchment paper. Fold in half crosswise. With the parchment folded, draw half a heart shape on one side as you would if you were making a Valentine. Use scissors to cut out the heart shape. Open up the heart.
- Combine butter with the juice of 1 lemon in a small pan; melt over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in tarragon and garlic. Reserve 2 tablespoons for the fish. Combine the rest of the sauce in a large bowl with spinach, scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
- Place one-fourth of the greens mixture on one side of each open heart leaving at least a 1-inch boarder around the edges for folding. Place 1 piece of fish on top of each portion of greens. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Brush the reserved sauce on the fish. Slice the remaining lemon and top the fish with the lemon slices.
- Close the packet to cover the ingredients. Starting at the top, seal the packet by folding the edges together in a series of small, tight folds. Twist the tip of the packet and tuck it underneath to help keep the packet closed. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet (packets may overlap slightly).
- Bake until the fish is just cooked through and the greens are wilted, about 15 minutes. (Carefully open one package to check for doneness—be cautious of the steam.) Let the packets rest unopened for 5 minutes before serving.