While it may look like a fancy technique for seasoned chefs, cooking en papillote (in parchment) is actually quick, easy, and healthy. Parchment paper rolls are easy to find in the grocery store. Basically, the package holds in moisture to steam the food. The moisture can come from the food itself or an added ingredient such as water, wine or broth.

For busy families with children, this is an ideal method for making a quick healthy meal. Set out the individual protein portions and a variety of chopped or julienned vegetables, seasoning, and liquid for steaming. Then let everyone (including the children) build their own customized packet and fold to seal it. (Parents should supervise the opening of the packets due to the steam.) Cleanup is a breeze – just crumple up the paper and toss it in the trash. What could be easier?!!   

Click on these links for a step-by-step primer on cooking in parchment from about.com and for more tips and recipes from marthastewart.com.

Once you know the basic technique, you can invent your own en papillote creations using all of the wonderful fresh ingredients from the Market! Click for a delicious chicken recipe from Real Simple.

Following is a recipe for salmon cooked in parchment that uses fresh pea shoots and shiitake mushrooms (both available from our vendors).

Sesame Salmon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Pea Shoots

from Martha Stewart Living

 “I have read recipes for years that used the technique of En Papillote, but assumed that it would be time-consuming and complicated. When I saw this recipe that used so many spring ingredients available at the Farmers Market (and the photo was enticing!), I decided to give it a try. To my surprise and delight, it was both simple to do and quick to cook. And the presentation will wow your family and guests!” 

~ Barbara Wilder, Market Master

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (8 ozs.)
  • 4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets, preferably wild sockeye (5 ozs. ea.; 1 inch thick)
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons toasted-sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cups fresh pea shoots (2 ozs.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut out four 12-by-17-inch pieces of parchment; fold each in half crosswise to form a crease, then open.
  2. Combine soy sauce, ginger, and lemon juice, and toss with mushrooms. Divide evenly among 4 parchment pieces, arranging mixture on 1 side of each crease. Lay 1 salmon fillet on top of each pile. Season each with 1/8 teaspoon salt and the sesame oil. Fold parchment over ingredients; make overlapping pleats to seal.
  3. Bake on 2 baking sheets (2 packets per sheet) for 10 to 11 minutes for medium-rare or 12 minutes for medium. Unwrap; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Top with pea shoots.