En papillote… sounds awfully fancy, doesn’t it? French for “in parchment,” this dish is exactly as it sounds – salmon fillets baked in a parchment pouch. It looks impressive for its simplicity of preparation, and best of all, the parchment packaging makes cleanup a breeze (yes, I know I sound like a Reynold’s foil commercial).
I think salmon and lemon are a classic combination, so why fix what isn’t broken? I went extra simple (only 4 ingredients!) with fresh lemon, butter, and a lemon pepper blend, but you could easily spruce this up with some fresh or dried dill, fresh lemon zest, or even a splash of white wine for flavor and moisture.
2 fillets of salmon, skin-on, about 3-4 oz per fillet
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, sliced into two thin pats
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning blend (or salt & pepper to taste)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Tear out two large squares of parchment paper, about as long as the width of the roll. Arrange the squares like a compass, so that one of the points (i.e. the “southern” point) is pointing toward you. If desired, rinse the fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Place each fillet skin side down on its own square of parchment, a bit south of the center.
Season with lemon pepper seasoning blend. If the blend does not include salt, sprinkle a bit on the fillet as well.
Top each fillet with a small pat of butter, for moisture and flavor.
Cut two thick slices from the lemon and set aside the rest for later. Layer the lemon slice over the butter.
Now to make the iconic en papillote pouches. Fold the north corner down to the match the south corner and enclose the fillet. Starting from one side, either east or west, fold over the newly created folded edge in small, tight, acute-angled folds. Be sure the folds overlap, working your way around to create a rough circle or semi-circle.
Set the pouches onto a baking sheet and stick into the preheated oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The fillets will be a bit firm to the touch when they are ready.
Part of the fun is opening it up like a present, so I like to plate my salmon en papillote straight out of the oven. Garnish with fresh wedges from the reserved lemon. Cut or tear open the packet and dinner is served!
Salmon en papillote is also a great fuss-free dish for dinner parties. The pouches can be assembled in advance and kept in the refrigerator until dinnertime. Each guest receives a pre-portioned dinner that’s simple and delicious! Serve alongside steamed vegetables (or pictured above: blanched broccoli florets) or a rice pilaf.