Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dinner Rave

I have fallen in love with parchment paper. Lately I seem to keep finding all sorts of uses for it, and it's made me kind of rediscover it. TJ is often a little "high needs" in the early evenings, and makes trying to cook dinner a real challenge. So I've been looking for recipes that I can prepare ahead of time (like during his morning nap) and put back in the fridge until I'm ready to bake/cook it. Since this is basically the definition of a casserole, things in our kitchen were getting a little bland. Along came this recipe:

Parchment Baked Salmon and Vegtables

1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds discarded
2 Tbsp all-fruit orange marmalade
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
4 skinless salmon fillets, about 4 oz each
1 medium tomato
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 c brocoli florets, chopped
3 c cauliflower florets, chopped
2 c frozen corn

In a small food processor or blender puree the jalapeno, marmalade, lime juice and salt. Spread on top of the salmon fillets. Do no clean the processor out.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place one rack in the top third, one in the bottom third.
In the processor or blender, puree the tomato, cumin, and pepper. pour into a meduim bowl. Add the broccoli, cauliflower and corn. Mix evenly to coat.
Cut four sheets of parchment paper, about 20" long and 12" wide. With the long edges at top and bottom, fold each sheet in half. Unfold the sheets. For each packet, place a salmon fillet about 1"to the right of the crease. Spoon 1/4 of the vegetables around the salmon. Fold the left half of the parchment paper over the salmon and veggies. Seal the parchment by folding both layers together toward the food, making pleat-like folds every 2inches or so. Se sure the parchment is securley folded together. Place 2 parchment packets each on two baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes. Switch the placement of the sheets so the top one is now on bottom and vice-versa. Bake 8 more minutes. Opening the parchment carefully to avoid steam burns, check for doneness. The salmon should flake easily with a fork and the veggies should be tender. If not, reseal and bake another 2 mins.
To serve,slide each packet onto a plate. Allow each person to carefully open their own.

Not only is it super pretty, it's also super tasty. This recipe has led me to all sorts of concoctions, using the concept of "steaming" things inside that parchment packets. Not only is it a really healthy way to cook, but it meets my requirement of being prepared ahead of time, then I just put the parchment packets in the fridge until I'm ready to bake them. All TJ has to sacrifice is being put down for the 2 minutes it takes to put the packets in the oven and turn it on. Even he can get behind that dinner plan. Bonus: Seal your packets well, and you won't even have to wash the pans!!!


Amy said...

Sounds delicious! If you ever want crockpot recipes, I have book I have has 1400 recipes. You are welcome to look at them.

Em said...

yum. i am so making that. we even have salmon in the freezer. great idea. another thing you can make ahead are cakes: like salmon cakes, black bean cakes, sweet potato cakes, endless possibilities. then you just have to cook them in a pan and they take like 10 mins. i just made black bean cakes last night that were divine.