Cooking Salmon in Parchment Paper is an easy and somewhat fool proof way to enjoy a salmon dinner. For this recipe, salmon is lightly seasoned with New Mexico Chile Powder and steamed tender and flaky in parchment. With thin sliced oranges and sliced jalapenos, Orange Honey Parchment Salmon is a treat of a meal.
About This Recipe and Why It Works
The French call it “salmon en papillote,” and I call it pouch meals. It’s simply described as cooking in parchment. And salmon in parchment paper works like a charm to infuse flavors.
Parchment paper and I have become very good friends as of late. We became well acquainted while I attended Culinary School and I can safely say I’ve become a bit obsessed with this cooking method.
This method of cooking salmon is easy, it’s impressive, delicious, healthy and some what of an entertaining coup. At school Chef John referred to it as the “date night” meal. It truly is an easy way to entertain.
The method simply involves wrapping and sealing food, vegetables, herbs and spices in parchment paper, then baking until the parchment puffs. Everything inside is steamy and cross flavored into bliss.
Since we’re steaming, little oil is added. It’s all very healthy … and fun.
Why is it fun? I blame it on the accolades. Who can resist a barrage of compliments from guests when you serve a meal. It’s extremely gratifying.
Parchment meals are visually irresistible, filled with healthy and colorful ingredients. And when opened the aromas escaping the packet are intoxicating. What’s not to love.
With just a little prep, dinner is still ready in about twenty minutes.
Why cook salmon in parchment paper? Parchment fish recipes are so versatile. Any herbs, any spices, any vegetables that you love, you can go crazy with options.
My latest idea was for salmon in parchment. I have many beautiful salmon fillets in the freezer from our participation in Sitka Salmon Shares.
Where to Buy Wild Salmon
The best option to purchase wild salmon is through a company that blast freezes the meat soon after the catch at its peak of freshness insuring that beautiful fresh flavor. A freshness made for this parchment salmon.
I have been a member of Sitka Salmon Shares, for three years now. An Alaskan community supported fishery of small-boat fishermen that takes the experience further, by delivering the most delicious seafood I’ve ever tasted right to my doorstep.
It’s a boat to doorstep program that brings wild Alaskan seafood straight from their fisherman’s collective to your home. Pristine fish from pristine waters from small boat companies that depend on fishing for their livelihood.
What a very cool program that makes me feel good about what I’m eating and that I’m supporting small business. Check it out, and head over to their website for the full story.
With such pure fresh flavor, I wanted to keep the flavor on the fresh side. This salmon in parchment is a perfect way to cook good quality salmon. Let’s take a look.
Ingredients To Make This Recipe
- Honey: For that sweet sticky glaze effect.
- White Wine: We add just a splash of white wine to each parchment paper packet to accent the flavor and aroma. Wine adds acidity and sweetness and like salt, alcohol brings out the flavor in food. But don’t add too much, it will make the parchment soggy. The alcohol will evaporate while cooking leaving only flavor.
- 1 Orange: We’ll use the zest and slices of orange. And a squeeze of orange juice to bring a bright citrus flavor to the salmon.
- Olive Oil: A small drizzle of olive oil brings a silky richness to the end result.
- Jalapeno Pepper: Adds a bit of crunch and a beautiful Southwestern touch.
- Chile Powder: Sprinkling a bit of chile powder on the Salmon gives it that “just right spicy” kick.
- Thyme: Thyme is a good partner for orange and salmon.
Ingredient Substitutions and Swaps
- Orange: An easy swap for an orange is fresh limes.
- Honey: I always have a bottle of Agave Syrup in my pantry. If I’m out of honey, it’s a good substitute.
- White Wine: If you don’t have any white wine, apple juice, cider vinegar or ginger ale can be substituted. Red wine would add too strong of a flavor and color to the dish. Personally, if I didn’t have white wine, I would just omit this ingredient.
- Olive Oil: Substitute a pat of butter for the olive oil.
- Jalapeno Pepper: A fresh Anaheim or New Mexico Chile pepper, like a Hatch Pepper would be a good option here.
- Chile Powder: I always have a stash of New Mexico Red Chile Powder in my pantry. And Chimayo is my preferred variety. Substitute Ancho Chile Powder, or even Chipotle Chile Powder. Keep in mind, Chipotle is ground smoked red jalapeno peppers and will had a strong smoky flavor.
- Thyme: Substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Step By Step Instructions
- Step 1: How to wrap salmon in parchment paper? It’s easy. Take a sheet of 24″ x 16″ parchment paper and tear it in half. This will make two parchment meals, finished size of each sheet will be 16″ x 12.” Fold the paper in half so you have a guide to where the center of the paper is. Place each salmon fillet near the center fold of the parchment paper.
- Step 2: Sprinkle the salmon with chile powder and a pinch of orange zest.
- Step 3: Add slices of jalapeno pepper on top of the seasoned salmon.
- Step 4: Drizzle with honey.
- Step 5: Place two thin half slices of oranges on top.
- Step 6: Add a few springs of thyme and a squeeze of orange juice.
- Step 7: You’re ready to seal the parchment paper around the salmon. Start by folding the paper over the salmon to evenly meet the other end of the paper.
- Step 8: Starting at the closed end of the parchment paper, nearest the center where the salmon has been placed, make a small fold inward.
- Step 9: Using your fingers, start rolling the paper inward and over itself, firmly pressing and crimping as you go. Just a couple of rolls inward will make a nice seal.
- Step 10: Continue crimping and folding the parchment paper along the open end of the parchment meal, pressing as you go.
- Step 11: Once you’ve reached the end of the semi-circle, give the last crimp at the fold a good press to make sure it has sealed well. I then go back around and the edges and press here and there just for good measure.
- Step 12: You’re ready to bake. Place each salmon in parchment on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Expert Tips and FAQ’s
The oven is my preferred way to bake salmon and 400 degrees is the temperature I find best. It cooks the meat quick enough that the outer flesh will seal in the juices and keep the meat tender and flaky.
Yes. This is the beauty of why this is such a great method for entertaining. The parchment paper pouches can be prepared a few hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until time to cook. That makes it easy on you as the host and clean up is a breeze. Just be careful not to add too much liquid or the parchment paper will become soggy. Just a scant of a splash.
When purchasing parchment paper, I suggest buying sheets opposed to rolls. The rolled paper is hard to manage, due to curling. The parchment sheets I’ve used for this recipe were purchased at a restaurant supply store. I’ve purchased Kroger brand sheets that are 10 3/4 x 15 inches. This size works very well for this meal.
If you want to reduce the heat, remove the veins and seeds from the center of the jalapeno slices. Those are what carry the hot heat, not the meat of the pepper.
Foil creates an entirely different type of heat, a dry heat. It won’t steam the food and it won’t blend flavors as well. Stick with parchment paper and save the foil for the grill or campsite.
Yes, but use thin chicken cutlets. A full breast won’t cook quickly enough. And no red meat. Any red meat will turn gray with a poor texture, which is not appealing at all. Also a white fish fillet will work very nicely. Halibut is a good choice. If using a thinner fillet like cod, reduce the cook time by about 5 minutes.
Parchment paper is a silicone coated paper that is safe to use up to 450 degrees. And with an open flame, the answer is no. Stick with the oven for this method of cooking.
What to Serve with Salmon in Parchment
We love this meal with Garlic Butter Baked Potatoes. But if you want to keep the theme healthier, try Hericot Verts in Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce, Glazed Carrots with Honey and Lime, or this Green Vegetable Medley is a great choice. And as always a beautiful tossed salad is enough to make a healthy meal.
And if you’re looking for more parchment paper seafood recipes, check out my Steamed Cod in Parchment with Potatoes and Spinach.
Recipe for Salmon Cooked in Parchment Paper
I hope you give this recipe a try, and if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating and leave a comment about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have a favorite parchment salmon recipe, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Healthy Salmon Recipes
- Mexican Baked Salmon With Salsa Verde
- Mirin Glazed Roasted Salmon
- Maple Mustard Glazed Oven Roasted Salmon
- Salmon with Caper Sauce
- Salmon with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
- Oven Roasted Salmon with Caper Sauce
Southwestern Orange Salmon in Parchment
- 1/2 pound Salmon Filet Divided into two pieces
- 1 navel orange washed, zested, and thin sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper stem and seeds removed, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon New Mexico Red Chile Powder
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lay out two sheet of parchment paper cut large enough to house the salmon and with room to be able to crimp enges and enclose.
- Place each piece of salmon in the center a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle with chile powder, salt and pepper and a pinch or two of orange zest.
- Add about three slices of jalapeno peppers on the salmon fillets. Then add two half slices of orange.
- Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme then drizzle with olive oil. Add a splash of white wine.
- Fold the paper over the salmon and begin the crimping technique to seal well. Starting at the closed end of the parchment paper, nearest the center where the salmon has been placed, make a small fold inward. Using your fingers, start rolling the paper inward and over itself, firmly pressing and crimping as you go. Just a couple of rolls inward will make a nice seal.
- Bake salmon for 10-15 minutes or until the parchment paper has puffed up high.
- Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Salmon In Parchment Paper … It’s What’s For Dinner