Kumquat-Fennel Salmon en Papillote

En Papillote, what the heck is that?  Don't get scared, it is one of the easiest ways to cook fish at home.  En papillote is french for "in parchment", little envelopes of parchment that surround your fish and keep it nice and moist in the oven.  It is basically fool proof and makes a stunning entrance at a dinner party.  Your guests will think you slaved for hours, and it only takes 10 minutes.  Yup, I said 10 minutes, so you don't even need to wait for a dinner party, I made this on a Monday!
What I am really showing you here is a method.  The best thing about learning a method is you can then mix it up any way you want, different fish, different vegetables, whatever you have on hand. En Papillote requires two things, liquid and aromatics.  The liquid helps steam the fish and the aromatics make it taste good.  I chose kumquats (little mini-oranges), fennel and salmon.  I made a bed for the salmon fillet out of fennel and red onion, then topped the fish with ginger, sliced kumquats and a squeeze of orange juice.  It looked so pretty.
Pretty and pocketbook friendly!  Let's talk numbers.  This dish cost me $18.37, $4.59 per serving!  I think that's pretty good considering this is Copper River Sockeye Salmon.  I guesstimated on the price of the kumquats since they were part of our CSA basket last week, but I think it's fair considering I only used 10, you might be able to find them cheaper.  Or you can use sliced oranges, which would save some money.  Remember, this is a method, so switch things up however you like.

Kumquat-Fennel Salmon en Papillote

4 Salmon fillets (5-6 oz. each) ($13.08)
1/2 medium Red onion, sliced thin ($0.50)
1 Fennel bulb, sliced thin (save the fronds for garnish) ($2.29)
10 Kumquats, sliced thin, seeds removed (maybe 12-14 if they are really small) ($2.00)
1/2 inch fresh Ginger, grated
Juice of half an orange ($0.50)
Salt & Pepper
4 pieces parchment, 10-12 inches in length (or aluminum foil, if you must)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Tear off 4 pieces of parchment.  On each piece of parchment do the following;
1.  Place 1/4 of the sliced onions and fennel on one side of the parchment.  You will need the other half to fold over the top of the fish.
2.  Place salmon on top of veggies.
3.  Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper and 1/4 of the ginger.
4.  Arrange slices of kumquat to cover fillet.
5.  Squeeze orange juice over the top.  You need about a teaspoon of juice for each fillet, so if you need to use a whole orange, go ahead.


Now...fold the top half of the parchment over the fish and overlap small folds along the open edge to seal.  Twist tightly when you get to the end to seal the pouch.
Wait, what?  This sounds MUCH more complicated than it is.  Basically what you want to make sure is that the packet is sealed completely.  No steam can escape.  It should look like an empanada when you're done.
Place your packets on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.
I borrowed this picture from the internet since mine did not come out  very well.  This is what you want your packets to look like.

After 10 minutes remove from oven and open the packets.  Be careful of the steam! I topped mine with some chopped fronds, and served it with roasted broccoli and a salad on the side.








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