En Papillote

I had the distinct pleasure of living in Montgomery, Alabama for two very long years of my life.  It was there that I first created an “I can’t stand” list…the first line being, “I can’t stand men who use more hair care products than I do…”

But that’s not to say Montgomery is all bad.  Apart from being the state capitol, it’s home to a number of really good restaurants–which I still find incredibly surprising.

I came to love a little place in Old Cloverdale called Sinclairs.  It’s an establishment for the Union Street gang and on any given day during the legislative session you’ll find a gaggle of state legislators milling around chewing the fat.  My favorite dish was the “Shrimp in Parchment” which seemed incredibly exotic to me at the time–and for good reason–feta cheese aside, this was shrimp that wasn’t fried! 

There’s something to be said for cooking en papillote (in parchment).  Not only is it almost impossible to screw up, it’s incredibly easy to clean up.  Both good things considering my sous chef has a habit of lying motionless on the couch while I’m banging pans over my head.

The following recipe isn’t my Sinclairs favorite (although if you’re really, really, really nice to me I might share it one day)–it’s one I created while pushing a cart through Whole Foods—one part “What’s fresh today?” and one part “Gosh, I should really use that dill I planted before I kill it.”  ‘Cause that’s just the way I cook. (For the record…the dill is now officially dead.)

Salmon en papillote

2 Fresh Salmon Fillets

2 lemons (one for juicing, one for slicing)

Salt, Pepper

Olive Oil

Fresh Dill Sprigs

Splash of white wine

2 squares of Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange each salmon fillet in the center of a square of parchment paper.  Season with salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil (you could use butter) and a splash of white wine.  (The wine is completely optional.  I like to use it because it gives me an excuse to open the bottle before dinner…as if I need an excuse to drink wine while I cook).  Juice 1/2 of a lemon over each.  Top with fresh dill sprigs and lemon slices.  Fold the parchment paper around the fish–meeting at the center and then rolling up the edges (I generally tuck the ends under the fish).  Place parchment packets on a cookie sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes.  (When the fish flakes easily, it’s done!).


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