Baking in Parchment

Cooking How-To, Dinner, How-To, Recipes
on April 1, 2008
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

Cooking in parchment paper, or, as the French say, cooking en papillote, is a simple and convenient technique. Fish, poultry, fruits or vegetables are tightly sealed in parchment paper packets and placed in the oven where they cook in their own juices, creating a delicious and aromatic meal with minimum cleanup.

The best way to prepare the parchment packets is to fold a 15-inch square sheet of parchment in half and cut a curve—like a question mark—into the paper so that when it’s opened up, it’s a heart shape. Place the food on the bottom side of the sheet, next to the fold, leaving at a least 1-inch border along the edge. Fold the top half of the paper over the bottom and tightly seal the edges by making overlapping ¼-inch folds along the sides. Fold the tip a couple of times to create a tight seal and tuck it under the packet. Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven. When done, place each packet on a serving plate, and let everyone open their own, enjoying the steamy aromas of their very own packet.

By Dave DiResta and Joanne Foran, food writers in North Andover, Mass.