Fragrant Fusion Salmon
(Parchment Wrapped Salmon with Salsa Verde)
We continue to marvel at and enjoy the results we get
cooking in parchment paper. The preparation is so easy, there's
very little to clean up after dinner and the intensity of flavors that develop by baking
in the sealed parchment packet are fetching. Using the same basic technique, you can cook
fish, vegetables or meat. The combinations you can create are almost limitless.
This recipe starts with store-bought Salsa Verde and a
thick salmon steak -- that's it! The result is an unbelievably intense flavor and a dish
that looks elegant for the little work that went into preparing it. We served it with a
fragrant Thai rice cooked with chopped fresh basil and cilantro and steamed baby bok choy.
It's a totally fat-free dish that takes only 30 minutes to
prepare and that can be made any time of year. If baby bok choy is not available in your
area, you can use any green vegetable that can be simply steamed and served without sauce.
I call this fusion style, because it uses a Mexican sauce,
it's wrapped in parchment paper in the French-style, and it's served with Thai rice and
Chinese baby bok choy -- around the world in one tasty recipe!
- One 15 oz. container of Salsa Verde (use a fresh preparation without preservatives)
- 2 salmon steaks or filet pieces suitable for a one-person
- 1 cup uncooked, fragrant Thai rice
- Small handful of finely chopped basil and cilantro
- 4 small baby bok choy
- Boil down the Salsa Verde in a saucepan until it is thick and dense. It will take about
20 minutes of steady cooking to drive out enough water. Stir constantly to prevent the
bottom from burning. When it is sufficiently reduced, set aside.
- While the salsa is boiling down, cut the parchment paper and proceed with filling and
wrapping as shown in Surprises in Parchment:
- Open the heart-shaped paper with the V at the top and spread half the reduced sauce on
the right-hand side in roughly the size and shape of your salmon.
- Place the salmon on top of the sauce. Lightly salt and pepper the salmon and wrap it.
- Place the wrapped salmon packets on a flat cookie sheet for baking.
- Arrange the baby bok choy on flat Pyrex dish and put onto a steaming rack in a deep pan
with a tight fitting lid.
- Rinse 1 cup of Thai rice and put into a sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 1¼ cups
of water and the chopped herbs. Bring to a gentle boil, then immediately turn down to a
bare simmer. Cook the rice about 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let the rice sit
(in the covered pan) for about 5 minutes to develop its texture.
- After the rice has boiled and you have turned it down to a simmer, start cooking the
salmon in a preheated 400° oven.
- While the salmon and rice are cooking, steam the baby bok choy. They should take about
- Arrange the unopened parchment packet, a serving of rice and 2 baby bok choy on a flat
plate or in shallow bouillabaisse bowls.
- At the table, snip open the parchment paper and take your first whiff of the fragrant
- Thai Rice: I use Elephant brand Thai rice which is the fancy
variety of fragrant Thai rice. In San Francisco, this brand is readily available in all
Asian grocery stores
- Salmon Steak: A 1 " steak will take no more than 10
minutes to cook. If your salmon filets are very thin, then do not put it into the oven
until the rice has finished cooking. Thin salmon steaks could take as little as 5 minutes
to cook. Watch carefully so you don't overcook them. It's better to undercook a little so
the salmon will still be moist and succulent.