Daring Cooks Challenge "En Papillote"

So a couple weeks ago, I signed up to become part of Daring Kitchen. It's one of those websites I've seen mentioned on tons of posts on Tastespotting for people to challenge themselves and participate in a monthly group challenge (either cooking or baking related). I opted to join both Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers. The 14th of each month is the post date for Daring Cooks, so keep and eye out in the future.

Our July 2012 Daring Cook' host was Sarah from All our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called "Cooking En Papillote" which is French and translates to "cooking in parchment".

I've cooked "En Papillote" before and forgot how simple it was. I always made vegetables or fully contained meals that way when I was in high school and just beginning to enjoy cooking. I went back to my one package ways by making salmon for this challenge.

I wanted to try a different marinade than I have in the past. It involved bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, cayenne, ginger and other seasonings. But I wasn't sure how well this marinade would turn out cooked in paper, when I would normally go for lighter flavors like dill and lemon. I cooked the salmon two ways: in paper for myself and simple pan seared for Steve. Given these flavors, the pan worked best, but it was still a good experiment.

I also purchased skin on fish, which I never used to do. I skinned the salmon, salted the skin, and fried it until crispy. I could serve it with the fish afterward and it tasted "like fish bacon" so said my dining companion.

Note: I did not measure the ingredients for my marinade. I just poured some soy sauce, sesame oil, bourbon and a little siracha in a bowl with brown sugar, pepper, garlic, ginger and paprika. I don't know what proportions I used, but you can use whatever marinade you desire as well.

Salmon En Papillote


  • 2 salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1 lemon
  • some cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 handfulls of spinach
  1. Fillet skin off the salmon and save to pan fry.
  2. Cook couscous. Bring 1/2 cup or water or stock to a boil and add couscous. Immediately turn off heat and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
  3. Cut 2 large pieces of parchment. Spoon couscous into each one and top with a handfull of spinach.
  4. Season fish with salt and pepper. Place fish on top of the spinach. Top fish with cilantro sprigs and slices of lemon.
  5. Wrap fish completely in parchment, making sure to crimp the edges. Cook at 350 for 15 minutes, depending on the size of your fish.
  6. While fish is cooking, generously season the fish skin and pan fry until crispy. Drain on paper towels
  7. Remove fish from oven and cut open paper. Serve with crispy skin and extra lemon.

For reference, I will include a picture of the other salmon. The crisp edges went much better with the bourbon flavor. Perhaps if I'd poured some of the marinade in the paper, it would have been better. Ah well, next time.


  1. This looks delicious! I'm definitely cooking fish next time. Apparently, it's a great way to cook fish. I love your seasoning, but I especially love that you cut off the skin and then pan fried it. Very clever!


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