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The secret to perfect salmon is love — and heart-shaped parchment paper.

Salmon in a Parchment Bag

Ingredients

  • 30-inch long piece of parchment paper

  • 1/2 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced

  • 1 large scallion, cut into 2-inch-long pieces

  • 4-ounce salmon fillet

  • Salt, to taste

  • Paprika, to taste

  • 1 lemon slice

  • 3/4 tablespoon of butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Fold parchment paper in half and cut out a large heart shape. Fold open the heart.

  3. In the middle of the right side of the heart, place 3 to 4 pieces of scallions and a few pieces of fennel. Place the salmon skin-side down on top of the scallions and fennel. Top salmon with salt, paprika and the lemon slice. Add the pat of butter on top.

  4. Fold the heart-shaped paper over the fish until the edges meet. (This means the crease will lift off the table.) Begin overlapping folds from the top left and work your way around to the bottom left, at which point you can twist it.

  5. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven for 8 minutes, or until the meat thermometer reads 140 degrees F. Serve in the bag on a plate.

Salmon in a Parchment Bag
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Transcript

- This is the secret to perfectly moist fish, love. No, but seriously, it's heart-shaped parchment paper. Let me show you what I'm talking about. So we have our parchment paper, you take a nice long piece, fold it in half. Okay, now we need to cut it into a heart shape. So with scissors or a knife, just kind of come way out. Oh man. Didn't really go. Hold on, hold on, we can fudge this. Absolutely lovely, if I do say so myself. The French call this en papillote, it means in paper. The Italians call it incartoccio, or invusta, both of which essentially mean in paper. And we call it cooking it in a parchment bag, which is almost as elegant. So we're just gonna, a few pieces of fennel, take some scallion, you probably want to halve it 'cause this is a pretty big piece of scallion. We need a section of a lemon, so get a nice thin piece. This is a highly aromatic way of cooking fish, and it works really really perfectly because this heart-shaped piece of paper turns into a little personal steam oven. So you've got all these aromatics that get caught up in here and end up steaming and circulating in the fish. If you do this perfectly, the bag even puffs up from the heat, it's so cool. So just making a little base here with some fennel. Really don't have to use a lot, in fact, it's a lot like making ravioli in that you want to under-stuff this as much as possible. So skin-side down, get a nice piece of salmon here, put that there, be very generous with the salt. Little bit of paprika, yummy yummy, gives you a smoky, peppery smell. It also rolls down the side of the fish and dyes all the vegetables beautifully. Piece of lemon, and finally, finish it off with three quarters a tablespoon of butter right on top, and this melts over the fish, bastes it the whole time it's cooking so you get a creamy, lovely texture. Now we have to make the oven. So you would think that you want to just fold this and start folding, but actually you want to pull this side all the way over to here, and what happens is the crease here, it lifts off the ground 'cause you want to make sure that the paper meets itself. So then very simply you start up here, and you just start folding it over. Keep folding the paper onto itself, coming around, coming around. And literally twirl that, so there is the salmon in a bag with these folding over pieces of paper that keep it pretty airtight and let this become a small little steam oven. Now this goes in the oven for about eight minutes at 425, very hot, I know. So this is super hot, one of the great things about parchment is you can see the brownness from it cooking. If you want you can stick a thermometer right through and see what the temp is at. I know this one's good. And so you can serve this at the table. Ooh. All the aromatic steam is coming out. It smells so great. So you've got fennel, it's a little bit smoky from the paprika, there's just this creamy aroma form the butter, and it's all really really bright with the lemon, it's totally unexpected. People are surprised when it comes to the table, and because of this concentrated little oven, the fish is super duper moist. Give it a try, it kicks butt.