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Sesame Ginger Salmon en Papillote

Posted May 23 2011 2:37pm
Only 2 more weeks until I move out of my apartment and into the dorms. That means it's time to start eating everything in my fridge/freezer. I buy my salmon in frozen shrink-wrapped portions, so this was on my list of things to cook. I had seen this recipe on Kelsey's Essentials a couple of months ago, and I've been waiting to try it ever since.

Cooking en papillote (which literally means "in paper") is something I have actually done before. Another example is the recipe I made for  Caribbean Shrimp Packets . You basically put the entire meal into parchment paper (or aluminum foil), wrap it up and bake it. The flavors all cook into each other, and all of the moisture is trapped inside the packet. 

Recipe Notes: I also added a handful of sugar snap peas to each packet. I modified the marinade a little bit, so those changes are in parentheses below.

Sesame-Ginger Salmon en Papillote

Zest of half an orange
1 tsp peeled, minced fresh ginger (I used the kind in the jar. You can find it in the Asian foods aisle. I also used about a teaspoon and a half.)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp orange juice
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil (I only used 1. Sesame oil is REALLY strong, and I was worried to would be too much)
2 heads baby bok choy, ends trimmed and cut into thirds through the stem (I just cut up a head of regular bok choy)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (I only used half, because I made two packets)
1/2 cup bean sprouts (I ended up using a handful in each packet, which was a total of I'm guessing 1 1/2 cups)
4 (6-ounce) salmon filets
1/3 cup diagonally thinly sliced scallions for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the orange zest, ginger, soy sauce, orange juice, vinegar, and sesame oil together in a small bowl; set aside.

Fold 4 (16 by-12-inch) parchment paper squares in 1/2 lengthwise.
Evenly divide the bok choy, bell peppers, and bean sprouts among the 4 parchment packets. Season the vegetables with 1 tablespoon sesame-ginger marinade. Place a salmon fillet on top of the vegetables and season with the black pepper and an additional tablespoon of the marinade.

Fold the top half of the parchment over the fish, and overlap small folds along the open edge to seal. Brush each packet with olive oil. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the parchment paper puffs up.

Transfer the parchment packets to plates. Carefully cut the packets open, avoiding the hot steam, and serve.

Taste Rating: 7
I would have changed a couple of things. First, my sugar snap peas experiment was a bust. The box choy was pretty soggy. Here's what I will use next time for my veggie mixture: broccoli, red bell pepper, bean sprouts, and onion. I may throw in some canned water chestnuts too. The marinade I wouldn't change at all though (from what I changed originally). It made the salmon sooooooo good. It almost tasted creamy. That's how I know this recipe has real potential, I think I just need some different veggies!

Easy Rating: 8
Obviously, cutting veggies is a requirement. The marinade was really easy, especially since I used pre-minced ginger. The whole folding thing was a little difficult, but I think with some practice it would get a lot easier. The best part though...clean up. All of the cooking is done inside the packets, so my pan didn't get dirty at all.  I just had to rinse out my marinade bowl and wash my cutting board. 

Overall Rating: 8
I really think this recipe has so much potential. The marinade and the salmon were delicious, and those are really the two most important things in the recipe. 
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