Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Salmon en Papillote with Orange and Fennel

We had this a few nights alternative to the first salmon en papillote I made. It's an infinitely variable recipe.

Salmon en Papillote with Orange and Fennel:

amounts are for each individual packet

olive oil
1 ea 5 – 6 oz salmon fillet section
1/4 of a fennel bulb, core removed, sliced very thin
thinly sliced shallot
3 thin slices of fresh orange
~1 Tbs fresh orange juice
~1-2 tsp dry vermouth (or white wine)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter (could use less, or sub with olive oil)
ground black pepper
fennel fronds

Heat oven to 375F with baking sheet inside. Prepare parchment by folding a long sheet in half crosswise and scissor out a piece that looks like half a heart or, when you unfold it, a valentine. As the food inside cooks, the fat top will puff perfectly while the skinny end captures the juices.

Mix juice with the white wine.

Dab on a little olive oil in the center of one half of the parchment. Position a pile of fennel on the oiled section and then lay the salmon on top. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Dot with pieces of butter and top with a few thin slices of shallot. Place thyme on salmon and layer orange slices on top. Sprinkle fennel fronds on top of orange. Starting at the top of the heart, fold edges of parchment, sealing edges securely with narrow folds leaving a small opening at the pointed end. Use a stapler if the paper seems to be coming undone.

When ready to cook, pour vermouth and orange juice mixture into the opening in the parchment then twist the end tip to secure tightly. Place bundle on a baking sheet and cook for 11 -12 minutes. Serves 1.

I took the salmon out of the packet and served over brown rice this time. Or, just eat it out of the packet.

Steamed Asparagus with Tarragon Shallot Vinaigrette:

Since I'd cut into the shallot and had plenty left over, I decided to use it in a simple vinaigrette for the asparagus. We have tarragon growing on our deck, and I thought it would complement the fennel in the salmon. I really think the asparagus was my favorite part of the meal. :-)

minced shallot
fresh chopped tarragon
a little whole grain mustard
white wine vinegar (I used a Pinot Grigio vinegar that was really nice)
salt and black pepper
a dab of agave nectar
not too much olive oil...just enough to emulsify everything and mellow the dressing a bit.

There aren't any amounts given, but you don't need to make too much for one bundle of asparagus, steamed.
While your asparagus is steaming, mix the shallot through the agave, then add oil slowly while stirring to emulsify.
Toss whole warm asparagus spears in dressing to coat.

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