Paper-wrapped salmon is a variation on the classic dish saumon en papillote, using different aromatics. Like the classic French dish, the fish fillet is baked in parchment paper so it steams quickly. The parchment paper puffs up, capturing the juices and flavor. When you open the package at the table, the delicate fragrance of salmon steamed with ginger, green onions and cilantro is released.
Season some Japanese soba noodles with a little sesame oil to go with the fish. For dessert, sample some winter citrus, like blood oranges or some of the wonderful varieties of tangerines available at this time of year.
MENU (30 MINUTES OR LESS)
Paper-Wrapped Salmon With Sesame Soba Noodles
Instant dashi stock and the rice wine, mirin, are available at Japanese markets. Dashi is normally packaged in packets that each contain 1 tablespoon of powder.
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dashi (Japanese powdered soup stock)
1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger root, peeled and grated
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons oil
Stir together dashi and water until powder is dissolved. Stir in soy sauce and mirin.
Cut 2 (12-by-14-inch) rectangles from parchment paper. Fold each rectangle in half and cut out half a heart shape, then open into full heart.
Place 1 fillet on half of 1 parchment heart shape. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with green onions and ginger. Arrange sliced mushrooms around fillets. Sprinkle fillet with 2 tablespoons soy-dashi mixture. Repeat with remaining fillet and reserve remaining sauce for serving. Top each fillet with a few crushed cilantro leaves.
Fold other half of parchment paper heart over each fillet so that cut edges meet evenly. Seal packet tightly with series of pleated folds, starting at top of fold and folding 1/2-inch section of edge inward. Holding this section down, fold next section partly overlapping first. Continue folding in this manner until you reach bottom of heart; twist point to secure.
Brush outside of heart packets with oil and place on baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees about 10 minutes.
Place unopened heart packages on plates. Serve reserved sauce on the side.
2 servings. Each serving:
323 calories; 1,642 mg sodium; 61 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 34 grams protein; 1.47 grams fiber.
SESAME SOBA NOODLES
1/4 pound soba (buckwheat) noodles
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Add noodles to large pot of boiling water and stir until water returns to boil. Add 1 cup cold water. When water returns to boil, turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes.
Drain and rinse well with cold water. Toss with sesame oil.
2 servings. Each serving:
311 calories; 449 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 14 grams fat; 42 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.69 gram fiber.
1 bunch cilantro
1 (5-packet) box instant dashi (Japanese powdered soup stock)
1 branch ginger root
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms
1 (12-ounce) package buckwheat soba noodles
1 bunch green onions
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Fresh citrus fruit such as tangerines or blood oranges
30 minutes before: Bring water to boil for noodles. Cut hearts out of parchment paper.
25 minutes before: Slice mushrooms and green onions. Grate ginger.
20 minutes before: Add water to instant dashi stock; combine dashi, mirin and soy sauce.
18 minutes before: Assemble heart-shaped packages of salmon.
15 minutes before: Begin cooking noodles.
10 minutes before: Begin cooking salmon.
5 minutes before: Drain noodles and toss with sesame oil.