Salmon en Papillote

Don’t let the fancy French name fool you.  This is hands down the easiest way to cook fish at home you’ll ever try.  En papillote means in parchment paper in French.

Fish lends itself very nicely to being cooking en papillote – it doesn’t take too long to cook and really soaks up all the aromatics of whatever else you put in the pouch.  Salmon en Papillote - salmon in parchment paper with green beans, lemon, and tomatoes

All that lemon, thyme, and butter all gets steamed into the salmon filets as they cook.  You’ll get perfectly tender, moist, and flavorful salmon as a result.  Here you’re also adding vegetables to the pouches.  They swim around in their own little sauce as they steam alongside the fish.

Did I mention the clean up for this is a breeze?  It’s like the equivalent of those sheet pan dinners, except since everything is contained in a little pouch you don’t even have to clean the pan.  Sign me up!

Serve over salad greens or grains, and you have a fancy French fish dish in no time.

Salmon en Papillote - salmon cooked in parchment paper with vegetables over salad

Here’s what you’ll need for Salmon en Papillote:

Ingredients

  • Four 6 oz salmon filets
  • Four sheets parchment paper, cut into rectangles about 16 inches by 18 inches
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 12 oz french green beans, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lemons
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 12-16 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
  • One 10 oz bag baby spinach

Salmon en Papillote - salmon filets with green beans, tomatoes, and thyme

Start by preheating the oven to 400 and preparing your parchment paper.  You want the pieces of parchment paper to be big enough to hold the fish and the vegetables but not too big to where you are crimping the paper endlessly to seal the pouches.  I found 16 inches by 18 inches was about perfect.

Mix the halved cherry tomatoes, green beans, olive oil, 2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a mixing bowl (I promise this is your one dish to clean up!).  Pat dry the salmon filets.

Salmon en Papillote - salmon filets with fresh thyme

Place one quarter of the green beans and tomatoes in the middle of each sheet of parchment paper.  Make sure to drizzle any of the leftover juice in the bowl over the vegetables.

   Place salmon filets on top of the green beans and tomatoes.

Salmon en Papillote - salmon filet on top of pile of green beans and tomatoes

Season the salmon filets with the remaining 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Slice butter into pats and place on top of the salmon.  You should have 2-3 pats of butter per salmon filet.

Slice 1 and 1/2 lemons and place slices on top of salmon as well.  2-3 slices of lemon per salmon filet is about perfect.

Finally, top each salmon filet with the leaves of 2-3 sprigs of thyme, and squeeze the juice of the remaining 1 and 1/2 lemons over the salmon equally.   Salmon en Papillote - salmon filets with lemon, thyme, green beans, and tomatoes

Now it’s time to crimp closed the salmon packets.  I find the easiest way is to close them in the same way you’d wrap a present.  Start by taking two sides and folding them up hot dog style with the salmon and vegetables in the middle.  Fold the edges down together.  It should look like the picture below.

Salmon en Papillote - folding parchment paper

Next fold each end the way you would wrap the end of a present, folding in and up to meet the salmon in the middle.  Like so:

Salmon en Papillote - folding parchment paper

If the parchment paper folding seems intimidating, you can do this exact same thing with aluminum foil for more control.

Once all pouches are closed, place on baking sheet and bake at 400 for 12-16 minutes depending on how well done you like your salmon.  12 minutes still has pink in the middle, 16 minutes is flaky all the way through.

Remove pouches from oven, fold open (careful of the steam!), and serve immediately.

Salmon en Papillote with Lemon, Green Beans, and Thyme
How’s that for presentation?

 

Each parcel will have great juice from the tomatoes, lemon, and butter.  To serve you can slide all the contents of the pouch, juice included, onto a plate of spinach and/or grains.  It creates the perfect subtle sauce and doesn’t take away from the salmon as your star.

Salmon en Papillote

Bon appétit!

Salmon en Papillote
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 4-6 oz salmon fillets
  • 4 sheets parchment paper
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 12 oz french green beans, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lemons
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 12-16 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 10 oz bag baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400 and preparing your parchment paper
  2. Mix the halved cherry tomatoes, green beans, olive oil, 2 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper in a mixing bowl
  3. Place one quarter of the green beans and tomatoes on each sheet of parchment paper.
  4. Add salmon filet on top of each pile of vegetables
  5. Season the salmon filets with the remaining 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
  6. Slice butter into pats and place on top of the salmon
  7. Slice 1 and ½ lemons and place slices on top of salmon
  8. Finish each packet with 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  9. Squeeze the juice of the remaining 1 and ½ lemons over salmon equally
  10. Crimp close the salmon packets by taking two sides and folding the edges down together then folding closed the two ends
  11. Place pouches on baking sheet and bake at 400 for 12-16 minutes
  12. Remove from oven, cut open pouches (be careful of the steam!)
  13. Serve overtop fresh spinach or cooked grains

 



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