Salmon en Papillote

March, 2018

© julie 208 / adobe stock

The best way to cook fish is in its own juices or by steaming. Cooking en papillote does both. And the best thing about this method—no pans to scrub afterwards.


4 small salmon fillets

Sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste

5 tbsp unsalted butter

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 lb asparagus

1 lemon, thinly sliced

4 fresh dill stems

4 tbsp white wine

4 bay leaves


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and pat dry the salmon fillets then season with salt and pepper, and set aside. In a medium-sized frying pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter, and just as it starts to foam, sauté the shallots over medium heat until they’re just tender. Remove from the heat.


In a large frying pan, bring an inch of water to a boil. Cut about an inch off the asparagus ends then set the spears into the boiling water. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes; they’ll still be firm, but they’ll get further cooking in the papillote. Drain and set aside.


Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper into heart shapes (traditional shape for papillote) that will be approximately 2 inches larger than the fillet. Melt the remaining butter, and brush a little on the parchment hearts then lay one fillet on the right-hand-side. Pour 1 tablespoon of wine onto each fillet, then divide the asparagus, lemon, shallots, bay leaves and dill evenly among the 4 fillets.


Fold the parchment edges together using small, over-lapping folds at 1 inch intervals starting at the heart curve. Transfer the papillotes to a baking sheet and cook for 15–18 minutes or until the papillotes have puffed up with the steam. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate. Carefully cut open and serve as-is in the parchment parcels.

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