Salmon Baked in Parchment

8 Jan

It’s been a long time since I’ve inflicted any of my cooking advice on you, so you’re sadly overdue, my friends!  This officially expands my cooking repertoire from two recipes (here and here) to three (I heard that snicker!).

A MySpace friend is “expecting” and was advised to increase her intake of Omega 3 fatty acid.  My favorite source of Omega 3 is salmon and so I thought of this fabulous recipe that even I can make (and I really am an acknowledged kitchen idiot).  In true Kat fashion, exact quantities are based on how much of any given thing you like (if the success of a recipe is dependent on precise measurements, you might as well stamp it FAIL before even letting me read it!).

On a 10 inch square piece of baking parchment (waxed paper won’t work and my parchment paper happens to be 10 inches across, so I fold it in a triangle before ripping it from the roll, which gives me a 10 inch square; in other words, exact size is unimportant as long as it’s big enough to create the packet), put 2 slices of lemon side-by-side. Dot the lemon slices with butter (I don’t use margarine, but I suppose it would work) and place a hefty sprig of fresh dill on top (you can also use fresh basil, tarragon, thyme or rosemary).

Grind some fresh pepper onto your salmon fillet (I don’t like the steaks as much, but they work–steaks are thicker, so you’ll have to increase baking time) and sprinkle with a little salt–both sides. Place the fillet on top of your chosen herb, flesh down. Sprinkle the top with some chopped onion (you like onion, use lots (I do); not so much, then use only a little (see how it works?!)).

Fold two opposite sides of the parchment paper up and over the salmon, roll down and flatten the fold against the fish. Take the open ends and fold over the salmon to seal; flip the packet over with the seam on the bottom.

Place as many packets of fish as you want on a cookie sheet with raised edges to prevent any juices from spilling and bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

To serve, place the packet on a plate, cut an X into the top of the parchment with a sharp knife and pull open slightly–then dig in!

For the firmly non-gourmet, put the packet on their plate, cut the X, gently tear the paper until you can remove it first one end and then the other from under the fish–like pulling the table cloth from under the tableware–and serve.

I promise you, this is FABULOUS! Impossible to dry out (okay, if you cook it for like 10 hours!), moist and juicy is not the word for it, fish doesn’t get all broken up with handling, and hardly any mess to clean up afterwards–now, that’s my kind of cookin’!

If a heavy fish is not for you, try one of these recipes.



  • Four 5-ounce halibut fillets
  • 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup diced scallions, including light-green parts
  • 2 stalks celery with tops, finely diced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Tear off four 18-inch (45-cm) sheets of parchment paper. Fold each parchment sheet in half, then spread it back open. Place 1 halibut fillet on half of each sheet of paper 2 inches (5 cm) above the fold.

Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Place a quarter of the mixture atop each piece of halibut.

Fold the sheet of parchment paper over to enclose the ingredients. Starting with the corner near the folded edge, make overlapping folds, one on top of the other, about 10 folds, until the opposite corner of the folded edge is reached. Twist the last fold at the end of the package several times to make a tight seal, and tuck it under the packet.

[This is too damn hard!  Put the vegetable mix on the parchment paper first, put the fish on top, use my folding instructions, flip, next!  When you are folding down the first two sides, make the first fold small and roll down like you would a paper lunch bag; the resulting seam will be very tight.  You don’t want to “choke” the packet, just like you wouldn’t “choke” a paper lunch bag, but if you crease the folds on a lunch bag, the contents won’t easily fall out.  With the two ends then folded under, there is very little leakage and it’s FAST!]

Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake until the paper turns brown around the edge and puffs up, 10 to 12 minutes.

Place each on a plate. Carefully cut an X in the top of each to allow steam to escape. For the full visual and aromatic effect, cut them open at the table.



  • 4 squares parchment paper, about 15″
  • 4 firm cod fillets, 5 – 6 ounces each and about 1″ thick (alternatively, use halibut, tilapia, etc.)
  • 4 pieces of butter, about 1 tsp each
  • butter for the paper
  • 4 TB orange juice (or lemon)
  • coarse salt and fresh-ground pepper
  • 12 fresh tarragon leaves (or about 2 tsp dried)


Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400F. Have a rimmed baking sheet on hand.

For each packet, butter the center of the parchment paper and place the fillet on top. Put one piece of butter on the fillet, pour on 1 TB juice, season to taste with salt and pepper and place 3 tarragon leaves on top or sprinkle with dried tarragon.

Bring up the ends of the parchment and fold over securely, crimping the edges to seal.

Transfer packets to the baking sheet. Bake for 17 minutes.

Slide packets onto plates and serve.

If you absolutely must “crimp” your edges, here’s what it should look like when done:


You could just gather up all the edges and tie it, but a lot of moisture will escape (you can’t cut it open with an X and it doesn’t look very pretty–hmmph!):


Here the chef folded the opposite two sides down and then folded the ends over, but then secured them with a skewer rather than flipping (oh, so close! but not very neat and not going to keep the steam in very well):


This is the only photo that looks like mine when it’s served, i.e., rectangular, not tied, not skewered, and not crimped:


Here’s my final explanation on how I prepare my packet:  I do it basically the same way I wrap gifts.  I hold the two opposite sides together so that they form a tent shape over the gift box, fold and crease both pieces, then turn that fold completely under and tuck it snugly against the box and crease again, then tape closed.  I then fold the ends in to create 45 degree creases on each side, and then I fold and tape the ends up.  For the fish packets, instead of turning the first fold completely under and tucking snugly, I roll the first fold several times until about an inch away from the fish and then crease that final fold.  I make much shallower-degree creases on the end pieces before folding them over so they are longer and won’t untuck.  Too bad I couldn’t find a picture and didn’t have one of my own, because I’ve over-thought this now and made it sound frustratingly complicated!!!

One Response to “Salmon Baked in Parchment”


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