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Spanish Style Salmon en Pappillote


August 2, 2017 | View PDF

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The ingredients for Spanish Style Salmon en Pappillote aka "en Foil-llote."

You have a cooking job to do....

Not a job to make more work, but the opposite. I have one simple tool in my kitchen to do just that ... let me explain and show you the way to easy cooking.

Chefs spend hours in a kitchen to prepare a classic dish, which is sometimes required and necessary to prepare it perfectly. The reality is - that's why guests go to restaurants, because chefs give diners a culinary experience which frees them from the many hours of labor in their own kitchens, right?

Chefs tell me all the time that they don't relish the thought of spending more time cooking at home, after all, it's something they do as their profession. Chefs need a break, too. Home cooks and chefs are always looking for kitchen "hacks" (shortcuts) because, hacks do make life a little easier and that's always a good thing.

The one "tool" that I use in my kitchen all of the time is...and I hate to admit, it's not the most exciting or exotic tool in the world. It isn't a hand-forged African ebony wood handled-700-layered steel knife flown in from Japan, and it might even be considered, well, bland. This tool is something I cannot go without. It's the one-sided shining star...yes, it's aluminum foil. Not the cheap thin stuff. I am talking about the glorious thicker luxurious variety. It's worth the cost to make life that much easier, which frees cooks from the kitchen.

A few ways that I use this shiny friend are for double lining all of my roasting pans for super easy clean up, protect the bottom of my oven, top seal roasting pans to braise meat to steam-tender yumminess (got ribs), not to mention that I crinkle it up in long rolls to act as a rack at the bottom of my roasting pans and to protect my pie crust edges from burning. Also, by doubling up the foil you can create your own special shaped pans for baking anything you want, and even use it to scrub your outdoor grill.

For this particular recipe, I am taking a French cooking method "en Pappillote," which means "food cooked in closed parchment." I am hacking this method by using, what else, standard aluminum foil. I love preparing this recipe when we have guests over for dinner. There are so many other advantages by allowing you to flex your own creative juices. It can be prepared ahead of time, so you can spend more time with your guests. The beauty about this recipe is that it be cooked on any outdoor gas or wood-fired grill, because it cooks in its' own juices. The dish comes out moist and full of wonderful flavor. Please use this recipe as only a guide and give yourself creative wings to fly around your kitchen.


Serves 5-6

You will need:

A 3 pound side of Sockeye Salmon, skin off or skin on with pin bones removed (this recipe will work with a variety of seafoods like halibut, ling cod, and shrimp)

Aluminum foil, one sheet of thick, doubled if it is a thinner brand, approximately 24"x24"

Compound butter

¼ stick (1/4#) salted or unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin, ground

½ cup cilantro, chopped

½ cup green onion, chopped

½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped (small diced or sliced in thin rings)

1 each jalapeño (optional), seeds removed and finely chopped or diced

Black pepper and salt to taste (recommending 1 sprinkle of each)

4 ounces Mexican brand beer (or any brand), beer* is optional for this recipe.

*Refreshing tip... Drink the rest of the cold beer while cooking.


Mix butter with garlic and cumin (this is called compound butter). Add salt (if the butter is unsalted) to taste. Set aside to soften well.

Place salmon on one half of the foil. Spread or spoon compound butter evenly over the salmon. Sprinkle all of the other suggested ingredients evenly over the top. Now pour the beer over the salmon. Fold the foil over the salmon and tightly crimp the three open sides together.

Warm up the outdoor grill to high, or if preferred, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Ten minutes before dinner, place foiled salmon on the grill or in the oven for about 12 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon.

Just another "hack" side note. If you want to add a light smoky flavor, place a 2 cup pouch of wood chips on your grill-made with what else, foil! Make sure the aluminum pouch is riddled with tooth pick holes. Place it on the grill 10 minutes before starting the salmon..oh-so-nice.


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