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Vital Choice at Home: Simple Salmon in Parchment

Vital Choice at Home: Simple Salmon in ParchmentWelcome to Vital Choice at Home!

This series features me, Michelle – a writer and soccer mom from the Rocky Mountains – my husband and two kids, some beautiful Vital Choice seafood and lots of regular home cooking.
(Click here to learn more about me, below.)
I want to feature the products and preparations you're curious about.
Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?
Email me and help to shape this series.

Some recipes and cooking methods are timeless, and this dish is a great example of a culinary match made in heaven.
Salmon en papillote (meaning "in parchment”) is a true classic, so I felt it was time to give it a try and see if it was worth all the fuss (it was!).
When cooking salmon (or other seafood) wrapped in parchment or foil, you're sealing in moisture and flavor and allowing the fish to steam very gently in the oven.
This was my first time making parchment packets, and it couldn't be easier – no special culinary skill required.
I actually made this meal for one (the recipes below are to serve two), but it would be very quick and simple to prepare it for a group. Either way, you're in for a light-yet-flavorful meal.
I served my simple salmon packets with caramelized carrot coins with cumin and a light cucumber raita (yogurt sauce). This meal was very fresh and full of fresh veggies that paired perfectly with the moist and tender salmon.
When you plate up this meal, please serve the salmon still in its parchment, so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful aroma as they open their packets at the table.
Fennel Salmon en Papillote
1 fresh fennel bulb
1 lemon
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Parchment paper (or aluminum foil)
  • Preheat the oven to 400º.
  • For each salmon filet, cut a 12" square of parchment paper (you can also use aluminum foil, but the presentation isn't quite as lovely).
  • Remove the stalks from the fennel bulb and reserve the tender fronds. Cut off the root end of the fennel bulb, then thinly slice the bulb with a kitchen knife or mandolin slicer. Place ¼ cup of fennel slices in the center of each parchment as a base for the salmon.
  • Lightly season each salmon portion with salt and pepper and place atop the fennel. Thinly slice the lemon and layer lemon slices on the salmon fillets.
  • Top the lemon slices with a reserved fennel frond or two, then pour 1 tablespoon of dry white wine over each fillet.
  • To create your parchment packets, fold the parchment in half over the salmon so that the ends meet and the salmon is at the back of the packet.
  • Starting at one corner, fold a triangle in towards the salmon in the center, then continue to fold triangles in until you've folded all the way around the salmon to the opposite side to create a sealed packet. Tuck the final triangle under the end of the packet to seal it.
  • Place your packets on a baking sheet and roast for 12-15 minutes until the salmon is moist and tender. Be careful opening your packets – a burst of wonderfully scented steam will be released. (If you still have questions about folding your parchment packets, there are countless helpful tutorial videos to be found online).
Caramelized Cumin Carrot Coins
The carrots shrink quite a bit as they roast, so be sure to prepare 3-4 for each person you're feeding.
6-8 medium carrots, peeled
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Slice the peeled carrots on the diagonal creating ½-inch coins. Toss carrots with olive oil, cumin seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Spread evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Roast the carrots for 20-25 minutes as the salmon is cooking (also at 400º). I put my carrots in the oven 10 minutes before starting the salmon, and everything finished together.
  • Turn the carrots once so that they caramelize evenly as they roast. They're done once each side is slightly browned and the carrots are fork-tender.
Cucumber Raita
Raita is an Indian side dish made with yogurt, vegetables and other seasonings.
It's often served as a cooling accompaniment to spicy food.
I really love the way a simple raita can serve as a light-yet-still-flavorful substitute for a heavier, cream-based sauce.
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped medium-fine
½ cup low-fat or whole-milk plain yogurt
1 small cucumber
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Cayenne pepper and salt (to taste)
  • Peel the cucumber the grate it on the largest holes on your box grater.
  • Squeeze out the excess water from the grated cucumber and stir into the yogurt.
  • Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems and roughly chop about 2 tablespoons of the leaves.
  • Stir the cilantro into the yogurt, then season with ground cumin, cayenne pepper and salt to taste.
  • I added just a small pinch of cayenne and salt.
My rating: 3½ out of 4 stars

A Note from Michelle
Like you, I have a passion for beautiful-yet-healthy food that's easy to prepare.
While I do love making the occasional "fancy” dinner, most of the time I'm short on time and have a house full of hungry people who want to eat NOW.
I'm not a professional chef – just a busy mom who loves to cook and who's focused on that intersection of healthy and delicious.
I want this series to feature the products and preparations you're curious about.
Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?
Email me and help to shape this series.
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