Despite our frequent consumption of seafood in Louisiana, there’s still a lot of fish phobia out there. I hear people complain all the time about their inexperience with fish preparation. How do I know it’s ready? It’s so boring, unless it’s fried. How can I make it healthy and great tasting? It’s really expensive per pound, and I don’t want to mess it up.
The truth is, cooking fish is not hard, especially when you do it in parchment paper. Prepared “en papillote,” the fish is steamed in a cute little ovenproof paper package, keeping it super tender throughout. You can add all sorts of things to the bundle to influence flavor, including fresh herbs, pesto, infused oils, chopped fennel, leeks, slices of lemon or julienned vegetables. Serve it with a side of roasted potatoes, Israeli couscous, pasta with garlic and olive oil or a simple green salad. It’s one of my favorite ways to prepare fish, and it comes out great every time. It’s also a great recipe to break out on weeknights because it’s ready in about 25 minutes.
Fillet of salmon en papillote with pesto and lemon
2 6-ounce salmon fillets
Two large squares of parchment paper, enough to hold the fish and herbs in a folded bundle
4-6 tablespoons pesto
4-6 slices fresh lemon
Fresh parsley or basil for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees. On each square of parchment paper, place a fillet on the right side, leaving about two inches for folding. Top each fillet with about 2 tablespoons of pesto, or enough to cover the entire surface. Add 2-3 lemon slices. Fold over the left side of the paper and tuck all the edges so that the bundle is sealed. Place both fillets on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. To serve, cut into the package with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape. Be careful; it will be hot. Top with fresh herbs.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor and the author of Hungry for Louisiana, An Omnivore’s Journey. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.