Elizabeth Hait, AOL
There are three reasons you should learn how to cook in parchment paper (also called "en papilotte"): One, it's is an easy way to ensure your dinner is going to be perfectly moist and infused with flavor. Two, it's a smart low-fat cooking technique, because a tiny smidge of olive oil or butter goes a long way (steaming does the rest). And three, once dinner is cooked, you just throw the paper packet away, no dirty dishes! Oh, a bonus fourth reason: it looks
like a really fancy presentation, so family and friends will be impressed even though it couldn't be easier to do. And you'll find parchment paper in the same section as the plastic wrap and tin foil in your supermarket.
Of course you want to learn how to do this tonight
, right? See below for the step-by-step guide.
• Browse all our "how to" articles and videos
• Check out some of these great parchment recipes, like salmon with ginger and lemon
, chicken legs with white beans
, and a root-vegetable pilaf
• Watch Italian chef Marco Canora make his simple salmon in parchment recipe
What you will need: parchment paper, a pair of scissors, and a piece of fish or chicken breast or vegetables.
Cut a large piece of parchment paper, and fold it in half (it'll be sort of square -- this is not an exact science, so don't worry).
Cut rough semi-circle from the parchment -- a half heart shape, really, just without a serious indent at the top -- just like you used to do as a kid when you would make paper hearts. The fold is the center of the "heart" and the rounded part is the outside edges.
Open up the folded paper, and put your fish (or other meat or vegetables) in the center of the paper near the crease. At this point your recipe may call to add some fat (butter or oil) or additional seasonings and vegetables.
Fold the top half of the your "heart" back over the bottom again. Next you're going to start crimping the edges to seal the packet -- you'll make a series of small folds (almost pleats, as you can see in photo) starting at the wider end.
Continue making the small folds around the entire edge of the paper packet.
The folds will get slightly larger as you near the other end of the packet, since there is much more paper to fold.
When you reach the point end, make two folds on top of each other to make sure that the paper stays sealed during baking, or you can twist the end paper to get a really tight seal.
And here's your finished parchment-paper packet. Easy, right?