Salmon en Papillote with Lemon and Herbs

published Jun 12, 2022
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Salmon en Papillote Recipe

Use a handful of whatever fresh herbs you have — thyme, dill, rosemary, or a combination — in this simple and satisfying salmon recipe.

Serves2

Prep7 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

It can feel like a delicate task when you cart home a beautiful piece of fish from the market. Fillets, like salmon, aren’t inexpensive, so of course you want to cook them perfectly. Mistakes happen, though, and we’ve all sat down to a dry, overcooked fish dinner. But I have one word that will fix that problem: parchment. Wrap up salmon fillets in parchment paper, bake for about 15 minutes, and you’ll have perfectly cooked fish every time.

How to Cook In Parchment Paper

En papillote is the French term for cooking food in a parchment packet. You can cook many things this way — chicken, tofu, veggies — but fish is probably the most common. The moist-heat cooking method is a foolproof way to prepare fish like salmon because you don’t run the risk of drying it out. Plus, it’s super simple. Place the fish on a large piece of parchment, add some butter or oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and fold up the packet. If you want to get a little fancier, you can tuck in a few lemon slices and herb springs as I’ve done here.

Make sure you fold or twist the edges of the parchment to seal the packet tightly. The goal is to trap all the flavorful steam inside, which will gently cook the fish. As the salmon cooks the packet will puff up and about 15 minutes later dinner will be ready. Carefully unwrap the packet (the steam inside is hot!), transfer the fish to plates, and enjoy your perfectly cooked salmon.

What Can You Cook en Papillote?

Once you get the hang of baking in parchment, you can experiment with other types of fish or seafood, thin pieces of chicken or pork, or veggies and tofu. Add a splash of wine, try it with your favorite herbs, and maybe even give another citrus a try. You can wrap a couple of fillets in one packet, as we do in this recipe, or if you’re making a meal for a group you can build individual packets or even set out the ingredients and parchment paper and let everyone build their own dinner using their favorite combo of ingredients.

Salmon en Papillote Recipe

Use a handful of whatever fresh herbs you have — thyme, dill, rosemary, or a combination — in this simple and satisfying salmon recipe.

Prep time 7 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 2

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    (4-ounce) salmon fillets

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • Handful fresh herb sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, dill, tarragon, or a combination

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Place 2 salmon fillets in the middle of the parchment and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cut 1 tablespoon unsalted butter into 2 pieces and place a piece on top of each piece of salmon.

  3. Top the butter with a few fresh herb sprigs. Cut 1/2 medium lemon into a few thin slices and place the slices on top of the herbs. Fold the sides of the parchment tightly over the fish, making sure it is completely covered.

  4. Bake until the fish flakes easily, 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful of the steam when opening the parchment.