Parchment Baked Salmon with Squash and Asparagus

“Salmon en papillote” if you want to be classy and precise (aka salmon in parchment). Whatever you want to call it, cooking salmon in parchment paper is going to be your new favorite! It certainly is mine. This dish is mind-blowing to me and in multiple ways! First, you are not going to believe how simple this dish is to prepare. Second, its going to be a flavor bomb in your mouth. And third, the salmon turns out so unbelievably tender that you are going to ask yourself why you have never done this before! Unless you have done it before, then you know what I’m talking about.

My inspiration for this dish came from something similar that I had at Pig & Finch in Omaha, NE (so if you are ever in Omaha you gotta try it!). I left the restaurant wide-eyed and determined to create my own little package of perfection. Speaking of which, not only does the parchment paper make the ultimate boat to cook and steam your salmon to fork-tender goodness,  but doesn’t it look great too?! It makes a rustic serving vessel for your decadent salmon. Definitely a wow-your-guest kind of deal. Or you could just wow yourself. I noted below the way that I was able to get the parchment folded to create a little packet, but if you find an easier way, then by all means. Sometimes that parchment paper can have a mind of its own.

We also watched the movie “Catch Me If You Can” for the first time while eating this for dinner so I will probably always think of that movie now when I eat it. I had to re-heat it in the microwave for dinner because I made it earlier in the day (anything for the picture) and was shocked about how tender it remained! I had tasted it earlier in the day when I was taking pictures of it (you have to check if its poisonous or not) and had mentally prepared myself for it to be drier when we reheated it for dinner, but what was I thinking! Obviously don’t nuke it, but it does handle well be warmed back up.

Cooking salmon in parchment is my new friend. It should be yours too. Just keep in mind of building your layers when you are putting the parchment packages together. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and you can layer things however you would like. Just like cooking a po’ boy over the open fire if you are from the midwest (meat and potatoes wrapped in foil and thrown into the fire). Not like the po’ boy sandwich from Louisiana (but also very tasty).

Oh and by the way, if things just couldn’t get any better, its topped off with a mushroom duxelle butter sauce. You’re welcome.

 

Parchment Baked Salmon with Squash and Asparagus

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 6oz salmon filets
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 large sheets parchment paper, each about the size of a regular-sized baking sheet

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the butternut squash on a baking sheet and coat evenly with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Using one sheet at a time, fold the parchment paper one-third of the way across itself to create a bottom for your package. Starting with the butternut squash  and dividing all the ingredients evenly between the four parchment packages, build your layers on the folded portion of the parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches from the edge of the parchment to the ingredients. Top the butternut squash with the asparagus, keeping it as even as possible so that the salmon can sit on top of it. Top the asparagus with the salmon filet. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and layer a couple lemon slices on top. Top the salmon with the mushroom duxelle butter sauce, allowing the butter to overflow to the bottom ingredients.
  4. Fold the single layer of parchment paper over the top of your ingredients and crimp all of the edges together to seal it (like a calzone). Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Place the parchment packages on a baking sheet and bake for 20-23 minutes depending on desired doneness of the salmon. Open the parchment packages to reveal the salmon and vegetables and serve immediately.