FFWD – Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

The salmon, topped with lemon slices and a basil leaf, ready to go into the oven.

I love using the en Papillote method of cooking. It’s our favourite way to cook fish and it also works really well for chicken (though for chicken I open up the package near the end of the cooking time so that it browns a little). Vary the liquid, the herbs and seasonings, add some fruit or vegetables – use whatever you have on hand that complements the protein you’re cooking. Or, go vegetarian and oven-steam summer squash or zucchini.

A bed of whole basil leaves for the salmon to rest on.

I have to admit that the flavour and tenderness that this method brings aren’t actually my favourite part of cooking en Papillote. It’s the clean up. I hate doing dishes and oven roasting can mean a lot more time in front of the sink than I wish to spend. There’s no scrubbing with en Papillote. And that always gets my vote.

That’s not to say that the result isn’t a big selling point in itself. The steam that builds up in the package infuses what you’re cooking with the flavours of the seasonings, while making it extremely tender. The liquid can even be used to make a nice pan sauce.

The salmon, just out of the oven and still resting on tin foil.

This week’s French Fridays recipe has all of these qualities, but it’s the way that the dish is constructed that makes it special. The ingredients are layered so that when it’s served, the dish looks elegant enough for a dinner party. The flavours of whole basil leaves, thick slabs of salmon, lemon slices and chopped scallions make it worthy of company, too. I used dried thyme, but sprigs of rosemary or thyme are called for in the recipe and would add nicely to the presentation.

The salmon, with the grape tomatoes in the background and roasted potatoes in the foreground.

This meal is good enough that I wouldn’t even mind cleaning up afterward.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

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30 thoughts on “FFWD – Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

  1. Thanks, Tricia! The tomatoes don’t really flavour the fish, but they do get infused with the lemon and herbs.

  2. No clean up is always a selling point. Aluminum foil is my BFF! (plus you can recycle it – an added bonus)
    Looks lovely – and great work on your backyard/ garden, by the way.

    1. Thanks, Cher! I know many prefer parchment, but I find foil really useful and love that it’s recyclable.

      I’m so excited about my vegetable garden – the beans and cucumbers are well on their way and the beets, radishes and greens are poking their heads out, too.

  3. We love this style of cooking as well. I first discovered it when I was learning French cooking and I have done it at least once a month since then…but only with fish, I have never tried doing it with chicken as I am always nervous about making sure chicken is cooked properly, etc. Maybe I should venture out a bit and try chicken! Your photos are wonderful.

    1. Thanks, Kayte – I like it with chicken, as long as it’s browned at the end. You really have to layer in flavour, much like Dorie’s done with this fish dish.

  4. Looks delicious! I loved this recipe. Tasty, easy to assemble, and clean up was a breeze. As an added bonus, I had a leftover packet, which was easy to toss in my lunchbox for work the next day.

    1. Thanks! That’s a great idea. Next time I make it, I’ll definitely make sure there’s packets left over for our lunches.

  5. Theresa…your salmon en papilotte looks great especially since you added dried thyme…I can imagine how tasty and fragrant it is 🙂 good one !

  6. I never cooked en papillote before and I love this technique! I know I’ll use it again and again. Cleanup (or lack there of) can’t be beat. Great photos!

    1. Thanks, Betsy! It’s a great technique. I haven’t tried Dorie’s vegetable recipes that use this method, but I think I’ll have to make a point of it soon.

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