Thursday, February 28, 2008

Salmon Papillotes with Fennel, Potatoes, and Olives

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine and Tested in Alice's Kitchen

This is a fun, delicious meal for a dinner party. The packets can be made up in advance and chilled before placing in the oven. When the dish is finished, each guest will have his/her own packet to open. The fragrance is heady! This dish is also low-fat and quite healthy which I always use as an excuse to serve a decadent dessert to finish :-) Be sure to slice the veggies very thinly (which requires a sharp knife) so that they cook evenly through. You will find all of the ingredients for this recipe and the parchment paper at Lost River Market & Deli.

1 small fennel bulb, stalks discarded
3 medium carrots (1/2 pound)
1/2 pound small red potatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, slivered
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) piece center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and fish cut into 4 square pieces
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, quartered evenly
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Halve fennel bulb lengthwise. Remove most of core, leaving enough intact to keep layers together when sliced. Using manual slicer or a very sharp knife, cut fennel bulb (lengthwise), carrots (diagonally), and potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices, keeping vegetables separate. Blanch vegetables, separately, in salted boiling water: fennel 2 minutes, carrots 1 minute, potatoes 2 minutes. Transfer fennel and carrots with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water then drain well. Drain potatoes. Toss fennel and carrots with olives, zest, thyme, half of garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss potatoes with remaining oil and garlic and salt and pepper, to taste. Fold the parchment paper in half along the longest side. Divide potato mixture among centers of parchment squares. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place on top of potatoes, then top salmon the fennel mixture. Add a pat of butter to the package and a squeeze of lemon juice. Fold the parchment paper up over fennel mixture and crimp the edges. (If you feel a bit insecure about your crimping skills, just fold the packets, allowing room for steam to expand the packets a bit, and use a stapler to seal the packets.) Place packages directly on hot baking sheet in oven and cook 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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