We eat a reasonable amount of salmon. I’m quite conscious of the fact we should eat more fish and everyone in the household likes salmon. Australian farmed salmon is also quite readily available, so if I find myself buying fish at the supermarket (which I prefer not to do) it’s often the ONLY fresh, Australian option on offer.
My plan last week had been to visit the fishmonger and buy some gar or whiting and have it simply pan fried. Unfortunately, a small child who slept for ages and announced “not going out, not go to shops, stay home” put paid to that plan. Salmon it was. And skinless at that!
I was wondering how to jazz it up a bit and remembered that we haven’t done ‘en papillote’ for ages (indeed, if at all since moving back to Australia). ‘en papillote’ is method of cooking where, whatever you are cooking is wrapped first in baking paper and then in tin foil and then cooked in the oven. The protein is effectively steamed, so it’s a very healthy way of cooking and it also means that the protein stays very moist.
Of course, just a bit of fish cooked in its own steam is likely to be a bit dull, so it’s up to you to add a few bits and pieces, a few flavourings that you like.
Salmon, being quite fatty and rich, can stand up to strong flavours, but if you were working with a more delicately flavoured fish (such as whiting, or even flathead) you might opt for a simple topping of a lemon slice or two and some dill, along with a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Also choose your toppings with an eye on cooking time. If you want to include carrot, for example, you’ll have to chop it extremely finely, and prefer spring onion to onion. Salmon only takes about 12 minutes to cook in the oven, but a fish like gar or whiting will take even less time so chop finely or leave more substantial vegetables for side dishes.
This is not really a cooking technique that needs mastering. Understand flavours that work and that you like, and all that is left to do is ensure the parcels are well sealed – you want to trap the steam!
- a piece of salmon
- a few drops of sesame oil
- a teaspoon of soy sauce
- very finely sliced ginger, to taste
- crushed garlic, to taste
- finely slice chilli, to taste
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
- Spread out a large piece of tin foil on the bench and place a slightly smaller piece of baking paper on top of it. The baking paper should be large enough to wrap the piece of salmon quite loosely.
- Place the salmon on the baking paper and fold up the edges of the tin foil to create a makeshift tray (to prevent toppings for going everywhere).
- Top the salmon with the ginger, garlic, chilli and spring onion and sprinkle over the sesame oil and soy sauce.
- Wrap the salmon loosely in the baking paper, forming a sort of envelope. Wrap that parcel in the tin foil, ensuring a tight seal.
- Place on a baking tray or in a roasting dish and cook in the preheated oven for approximately 12 minutes. This is a pretty forgiving method of cooking but don't leave the salmon in the oven too long!
- Remove from the oven, open the package and serve the salmon on some stir fried soba noodles, and pour the sauce from the package over the top.
- Garnish with coriander if you wish.