Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dîner jeudi

Having fresh bread for dinner means a bit of baguette leftover for breakfast, so this morning I enjoyed tartine beurrée with jam. I love the French; they waste nothing.

After leaving school, I make my usual stop at the bakery, then head to the market. We haven’t had fish this week, so I head over to the seafood section of Whole Foods. No specials today, but the salmon is wild and fresh, and I make my selection: a good size filet, cut into four pieces (three for diner, one for tomorrow’s lunch). In the produce section I am thrilled to find locally grown asparagus. I choose a bunch of tender stalks along with some tiny tomatoes and a lemon. This evening's dinner: salmon en papillote with asparagus and tomatoes.

This evening’s dinner is one of the easiest meals to prepare. When preparing dinner during the week, I try to use as few pots as possible, and cooking the salmon, tomatoes, and asparagus en papillote let’s me do that. I preheat the oven to 400°. While the oven is warming, I cut the woody ends off some of the asparagus, halve the tomatoes, and season it all with salt and pepper. Likewise, I season the salmon then place the salmon, tomatoes, and asparagus on top of the parchment, fold and crimp the edges, place each petit package on a baking sheet and put it all into the heated oven where it will cook for about 20-30 minutes.

If you've never cooked en papillote you should give it a try! Not only is it very French--and very simple--but the packages look like little presents on the plate. I like to use colorful vegetables when cooking salmon using this method. Because the food cooks using steam, the salmon turns a pale pink, but green and red vegetables cook to perfection and really do look like a present when you open the package.

Tomorrow's post: Dîner vendredi

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