Surprises in Parchment Paper

(Surprises en papillote)

This Sunday Supper is more about technique than about a specific recipe, though you'll find a few recipe suggestions listed as starter ideas. Once you've mastered the technique of wrapping in parchment paper, you'll be able to whip up many versions of Sunday suppers "en papillote" to impress your family and friends:

Because cooking in parchment is French, people think of it as a "fancy" dish. You can let your family and friends think this as they as the praise your Sunday Supper creativity. It's a dream dish for dinner parties because the packets can be prepared ahead of time and popped into the oven while you're having a first course. No muss -- no fuss!

The only tricky part is learning how to cut the parchment paper into heart shapes for stuffing and how to seal the package by folding the edges over each other.

Technique (photos):

Tear off about 15" of parchment paper from the roll and fold it in half (folding the left half over the right). Make a sharp crease along the folded edge.

Stuffings - Variations on a Theme:

In San Francisco, salmon is available year-round so I've chosen it to show how versatile and flexible the parchment paper technique can be. Using the same main ingredient, you can create totally different flavors based on seasonal vegetables that are available.

Proportions in the following recipes are for 2 persons. Allow 1/3 lb. of salmon fillet per person, preferably with the skin removed.


(on a bed of leek ragout
with an anchovy lemon butter sauce)

1. Prepare the leeks as follows:

2. Prepare the anchovy lemon butter as follows:

3. Divide the leeks into 2 portions and spread over the parchment paper. Lay the salmon fillet on top of the leeks. Don't salt salmon; the anchovy lemon butter will give off more than enough salt.

4. Top each salmon fillet with of anchovy lemon butter.

5. Fold and seal the edges.


(on a bed of summer vegetables
with dill)

summer2.jpg (11187 bytes)

1. Prepare ribbons of orange, yellow and green vegetables as follows:

2. Divide the vegetable ribbons in 2 equal portions and spread on the prepared parchment paper.

3. Lay the salmon fillet on top of the vegetables. Drizzle with a little olive oil and 1 TBS vermouth or a Riesling-type wine.

4. Fold and seal the edges.


(on a bed of stewed onions
with a tomato and red pepper coulis)

1. Prepare a tomato and red pepper coulis as follows:

2. Prepare the onions as follows:

3. Divide the onions into 2 portions and spread them over the parchment. Lay the salmon fillet on top of the onions and top the fillet with the tomato/red pepper coulis. To allow the sweetness of the onions and tomato/pepper coulis come through, it's best not to salt the salmon at this stage.

4. Fold and seal the edges.


(on a bed of Napa or Savoy cabbage
with black bean sauce)

1. Prepare the cabbage as follows:

2. Prepare the black bean topping as follows:

3.  Assemble as follows:

4. Fold and seal the edges.