French Fridays with Dorie: Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

Where does the time go? Already, it’s French Friday again. This week, I’ve returned from my trip to D.C., and I’m back in my own kitchen making Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote.

I’m starting to realize that one of the great things about this cookbook we’re cooking our way through is that so many of the recipes are more about the techniques than the exact ingredients. This recipe, like many others we’ve already made, is a springboard for a myriad of future combinations.

For Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote, each fish fillet is oven-steamed in its own foil packet along with a handful of seared grape tomatoes, herbs, and lemon. After a short bake in a very hot oven, dinner is ready. It’s fast enough for a weeknight dinner, but elegant enough to serve to company. I served the fish with couscous, the fastest side dish I know.

Because the fish was wrapped up tight in its little packet, I was worried about the cooking time. I went with 12 minutes for 4 ounce fillets. No need to worry, as the fish was perfect. It was just slightly undercooked when I checked one, but, by the time I transferred the fish to plates and got them onto the table, the fish was cooked through the way I like it.

This could be done with any thick fillets, any variety of herbs, and other quick-cooking vegetables. You can always find grape tomatoes at the supermarket, but the vegetables could change with the seasons as well. Harder vegetables would definitely require a little precook so they are done at the same time as the fish.

My basil plants are a little slow to get going this summer, but I have many other herb plants that are going full force, so I used lemon balm leaves instead. My choice complemented the lemon slices, juice, and zest in the packet. I used sprigs of thyme on top.

You could serve the packet right on the plate and let your eaters open up the surprise inside for themselves. I decided it would be prettier to move the contents to the plate.

I ended up making four fillets, two for dinner and two for leftovers. Leftovers weren’t as good. The extra reheat, though brief, was enough to overcook the fish. Better to make this one just in time to serve.

Knowing the other Doristas, there are going to be some great variations to make note of for the next time I make this for dinner, and there will definitely be a next time. This recipe is a winner! Check out other blogger’ links at French Fridays with Dorie.

We don’t post the French Friday recipes, but you can find it on page 302 of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. This book is filled with so many recipes you’ll want to add to your repertoire. Check it out at the library, or buy your own copy. You won’t be disappointed.

Next week, we’re making a Cold Berry-Melon Soup. This one takes me completely out of my comfort zone, and I know it won’t fly with the other half of my household. Melon is for breakfast, not soup, so, I’ll stay open-minded and see how it works out for me. Until next Friday, have a great week.


Posted on 8 July 2011, in French Fridays with Dorie, tomatoes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Your own lemon balm from the garden! That sounds heavenly. Here’s an idea for the melon-berry soup. Serve it in a glass and call it smoothie for breakfast to your other half. ;)

  2. Hi Betsy, this is such a pretty and simple way to prepare salmon. I love that you used lemon balm with fresh lemons, it sounds wonderful. I’m looking forward to the cold berry melon concoction- it sounds yummy;-)

  3. I love making fish this way. Takes out the stress of keeping it from falling apart during cooking!
    I made the melon berry soup last weekend (with papaya), but need to give it another shot (I added basil into the puree and think that may have been a bit too much) – it was good, though (especially with the sweet wine)

  4. Betsy, Your fish looks delicious…this is my new favorite way to cook salmon! No big clean up either…next time I’m going to try it on the grill en papillote!

  5. Good thing to know about the leftovers not being as good. I’ll definitely be eating this fish the day of!

  6. I can’t wait to try this, Betsy. It sounds so easy to make and the technique can be used with different fish. Perfect for a quick meal!

  7. Lemon balm! Fantastic. You didn’t like the leftovers? I used my extra piece as salmon in a quick salad and it was great. Actually made me happy my sister never showed up for dinner. lol.

  8. I’ve grown lemon balm before, but never found much use for it in cooking. This sounds like a good way to use it. I agree with you about this being a springboard recipe–the problem is, it’s so good as is that I may never get around to a variation.

  9. I love the lemon balm addition – I bought a bunch once and used it mostly to make tea. I know now what to do with my next purchase! I agree with the melon berry soup being a little too out of my comfort zone. I think it would make a great afternoon snack.

  10. That’s a good tip – I have a huge patch of lemon balm in my backyard. I like what you said about the recipes being more about technique than ingredients. I feel that’s what I’ve been learning about most in this group. It’s so easy to get comfortable with a way of doing things and it’s good to be prompted to try different methods!

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