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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easy Salmon Dinner Packets

This is probably my go to when I gots NO time at all for dinner prep.  Super simple, fresh ingredients, pop in the oven (go do something else) and barely any clean up! Yet, this always impresses whomever I serve it to.  Healthy and delicious, almost becomes a bouillabaisse when it's done.

This is one of those.. what veggies do I have? or what looks fresh at the market meals.  Any combination will do.  They all bring something different to the dish.  And since everything steams in it's own juices...  in the end, the flavor of the broth depends on what you use.  
I change up according to what I have, but I always at least include onion, tomato, potato.  The onion cooks and adds a sweetness, the tomato whole shrivels and cooks in its own skin and adds so much fresh flavor.  (If your tomatoes are larger, add just a wedge or two.. it will cook down into the broth adding a lot of flavor.)   Corn on the cob cut in 1/4 pieces is yummy when in season.. and looks great when you open the package to serve.
So, go at it.. and find what your favorite is.  This is what I had on hand.  You also can vary the fish or add shrimp, scallops.. it all works pretty well.

folded parchment square into triangle

folded parchment w food placement... 

spinach bed on bottom, chunks of veggies
top with fish & drizzle with sauce
begin your fold and seal on the top right, fold top over and down, over and down...

keep folding and sealing.. make sure there are no gaps

this is what the end result should look like.  Simply fold under the "tail"

Salmon Parchment packets

  Salmon fillets (wild Salmon, never farmed) single portion
  Fresh veggies..
Asparagus, Broccoli,  Red, Yellow or Orange Pepper, Tomato (large cherry or small roma) Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas or any green bean, Kale or Chard, Squash, Zucchini, Red potato (cut into no bigger than 1" pieces, this is what needs cooks the longest.. so keep it small) Red Onion (cut into large chunks and keep together) Corn on the Cob,   Carrots (I love the baby carrots for this... they are tender within the cooking time) Spinach (This wilts down to nothing, so add a lot more than you think) 

Simple Dressing.. (when you don't have any teriyaki or ready made on hand)
  • good drizzle of Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced (opt)
  • Slice of fresh lemon for each packet
  • 1 pat of butter
  • fresh herbs.. anything works here or none at all.  I prefer parsley, basil, dill or thyme (especially lemon thyme) but whatever on hand. But believe me, not needed but I love to add when I have on hand!  
  •  S+P
  • On other occasions I add a teaspoon of miso paste & bit of honey, olive oil, S+P .. which makes a yummy quick miso glaze.  This I simple put a teaspoon or 2 on the fish directly.
Oven pre-heat to 375º f 

To assemble..
Large parchment square  Fold in half diagonally.  It is now a large triangle.  Place with fold at top and open.  Place an assortment of veggies on bottom half (towards the fold).  Give a good season with S + P.   Place salmon on bed of veggies & top with terriyaki or drizzle with olive oil, etc.  If adding lemon and fresh herbs, place on top of Salmon. 

Fold top back over.  Starting at the top right side, fold down bit of both parchment paper (top & bottom) creating a seal.. work your way around to the top left corner.  This will create a half moon shape.  Be careful to keep the paper sealed as you fold.  If you pack to much in or your paper is too small.. this will be an issue. In other words, don't chinz on the paper and watch your portion size!  When you arrive at the left top corner (the end)... just fold it under the packet.  Gently place the packet on a baking sheet.  Repeat. 

I flick the packets with a wee bit of water.. just a little with your wet fingers.  I don't know if this is necessary, but I do it.  Bake for 20-35 min depending on the thickness of your fish.   Remember, potato size is important.. if you want them to be tender.  More times than I'd like to admit.. rushing and the potatoes were a bit hard.  Packets might brown a bit, it's all good.  To serve, I find the easiest thing to do is when you place in a shallow bowl or dish, take your knife and make a slice underneath, leaving packets and contents intact.  Then your guest can remove and get the full impact of packet cuisine aroma. (and a free steam facial for that matter.) 

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