Salmon with Fennel Baked in Parchment

Have you ever baked salmon in parchment paper? It can look somewhat fancy and intimidating, but I assure you, it’s crazy easy to do. The fillets basically steam in their own juices, which are all contained in the parchment pouch. Preparing these salmon fillets takes just 30 minutes, including cooking time. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use aluminum foil. The cool thing about the paper is that it’s pretty, and you can even serve the salmon in the parchment pouches, letting the diners unwrap them on their plates.

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This salmon with fennel baked in parchment is a classic French dish—saumon au fenouil en papillotte. Place a salmon fillet over thinly sliced fennel on parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, lemon juice or white wine, top with lemon slices, fennel fronds and butter, wrap in the parchment, and bake. That’s it! The sealing of the parchment paper so that it doesn’t come apart may seem intimidating, but it’s a lot easier than it looks. Added bonus? None of the salmon odors that can overwhelm a kitchen after cooking salmon on the stovetop. Everything that escapes the salmon while it cooks, stays within the parchment pouch. What’s your favorite food to cook “en papillote”? Please let us know in the comments.

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Salmon with Fennel Baked in Parchment Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

You can use dry white wine instead of, or in addition to, the lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced paper thin (a mandoline helps for this)
  • 4 6-ounce portions of fresh salmon fillets (skinless is best)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice (to taste)
  • 12 very thin slices of whole lemon (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • Several sprigs of fresh fennel fronds
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 12x18-inch pieces of parchment paper (can sub aluminum foil if you don't have parchment paper)

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

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2 Lay down a square of parchment paper on a flat surface. Fold the parchment in half to create a crease, then open it up again. Place several slices of fennel bulb below the crease of the parchment paper in a mound, and sprinkle with salt. Place one fillet of salmon on top of the fennel bulb slices. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the salmon (anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon, or to taste). Sprinkle the salmon generously with salt and pepper. Lay sprigs of fennel fronds over the salmon. Lay 3 thin slices of lemon over the fennel fronds and salmon (more if you want). Or you could put the lemon sliced down first and top with the fronds, your choice. I think the slices on top look better. Dot the top with butter.

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3 Fold the parchment over the salmon and secure close. There are several way that you can accomplish this. One easy and particularly attractive way is to fold a corner near the folded edge of the parchment paper into a triangle. Then about halfway down that triangle, fold another triangle over the previous triangle.  Working down and around the parchment edges, you can create folds all around the edges. When you come to the last folded edge, tuck the corner under the parchment.  There is an excellent video available that shows this technique here: How to Wrap Fish in Parchment. This technique works well with individual portions.

You may find it easier to wrap a large (multi serving) fillet in the following way. Arrange the fillet so that its long side is facing you, and the two shorter ends are to the left and right. Then lift up the parchment edges closest to you, and furthest from you, bring them together, and fold them over a few times.  Then tuck the left and right edges under the fillet.  

4 Place on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. To serve, you can either carefully transfer each salmon fillet and mound of fennel slices to individual plates, or you can serve the salmon in the pouch itself, on a plate. To eat, you can either unwrap the pouch, or cut through the top with a sharp knife to expose the salmon inside.

Links:

Cooking in a Cocoon: Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote from Dorie Greenspan
Curried Chicken, Peppers and Peas en Papillotte from Amanda's Cookin'

 

Salmon and Fennel in Parchment by Simply Recipes

39 Comments

  1. Caroline

    I love salmon in parchment! It’s often my go-to recipe when I have guests because it can be made ahead of time and just needs to be cooked once the guests are there so it’s completely no stress. The recipe I use also has some thinly sliced potato and I often add slivered olives because I like this combination.

    • DEborah

      So, thinly sliced potatoes will cook in 20 mins? Also, I thought fish should not be seasoned ahead of time, because it will dry it out? I am only asking for information, being new at this…If what you say can be done, it will be fabulous!

      • Elise

        Perhaps if they are very thinly sliced. You can and you should season the fish with salt and pepper before it is wrapped and cooked. The fish will only dry out if you overcook it.

  2. sally

    I’ve been cooking in parchment for years! Love the technique and have been wanting to post my recipe for easy chicken. Thanks for the reminder Elise. I love to do fish too, like salmon and also halibut. Nice thing is you can make up the packets ahead then bake them! Easy clean up. Good healthy technique too.

  3. Amanda

    Oh my I bet that is so good! I really need to get more fish into my diet, what a great way to do it! And thank you so much for the link to my chicken in parchment too :) :)

  4. fabiola@notjustbaked

    I learned en papillotte in culinary school a couple of years ago, and have been a fan since. I love how it keeps food so tender and juicy, especially salmon.

  5. Audley Robinson

    My family love salmon, when I saw the recipe for salmon in parchment, I though this sounds interesting. It turned out to be more than interesting, the salmon was fantastic it melted in the mouth like butter. The Fennel took on a rich salmon flavor but not too overpowering. The second best part there were no greasy pans to scrape and clean. Highly recommend
    I served the salmon with small roasted potatoes with the skins on, that were par boiled and a simple green salad. The whole meal for four cost about $20

  6. Jayne

    This looks incredibly easy. We try to have salmon at least once a month but I always fall back to simply searing it. I will try this out when I get salmon the next time.

  7. Astrid

    We love salmon and we love fennel so this should be a winning combination at our dinner table. And the idea of serving it in the parchment paper would make it company-ready as well. Great combination – thanks!

  8. Emilie

    One of my classics, although it’s more often with tomatoes and lemon than fennel. I’ve been cooking the fish in tin foil, but you’re making me wonder if I should instead be using parchment?

  9. Keli M.

    I cook both walleye and panfish (crappie and sunfish) in foil along with thinly sliced carrots, potatoes and onions with vermouth and butter. It is sooooo good. Deep-frying is still tastiest, but this is a close second and is much healthier. I’ve got to try this with the trout and salmon we caught in Lake Michigan last summer. I’m betting it would be quite the winner!

  10. leslie

    Simple and delicious. You cant get much better than that! Love this

  11. esther

    Your version looks so pretty!

    I tried this method about 3 times and every time, my parchment gets soggy and rips! Any tips on how to avoid that?

    • L.D.

      You can wrap it in aluminum foil and your salmon should come out just fine. You just have to use a regular or infrared oven and not the microwave.

    • Elise

      Are you sure you are using parchment and not wax paper? I’ve never had parchment paper get soggy on me.

      • esther

        L.D – Yes, it was a regular oven. I will try it with foil – thanks!

        You might be right, Elise! I only bake with my silpat so I never actually buy parchment paper. I will have to check.

        Thank you for your responses!

  12. L.D.

    All the salmon I buy is frozen, I don’t find the skin very appealing. So what I’ve learned is take a frozen fillet out of the cello pack and run warm water over the skin side of the frozen portion and you can peel the skin off without tearing up the fillet, nearly impossible with a fresh fillet. Thaw the skinned fillet in the microwave and prepare it in any fashion you like, bake, steam or poach. I grip the slippery skin with a pair of pliers to peel it off. That skin is tougher than a steel belted radial tire.

  13. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    I do this for dinner sometimes and my kids love it, they think it’s like a present!

  14. Penny

    I came home tonight toting a piece of salmon I picked up after work – popped into your website, and what do my eyes behold, but this recipe! And I just happened to have fennel and lemon in my CSA box. The tinfoil version was amazing – I could have sliced up even more fennel for it, but it was so simple, delicious, and beautiful. Thanks Elise!

  15. sambo

    i love parchment salmon too. my wife doesnt like seafood but that doesnt keep me from having 2 or 3 of these in the fridge for my go to healthy meals throughout the week.
    last night i had a bed of asparagus topped with thin sliced onion, broccoli florets and 1/2 a diced potatoe, toped by a salmon steak with salt pepper dijon mustard over the salman and 3 rings of thin sliced lemon.fold it up with parchment and right before you close it up pour 1/4 cup white wineto steam it in.

  16. Kim Bee

    I love parchment, it’s almost an addiction at this point. I find myself using it for everything. It makes clean up a snap and cooks everything perfectly. Totally digging the salmon in it. One of my fave things to eat when I’m in healthy mode, which isn’t often enough quite frankly.

  17. Liz

    Made this tonight. Never cooked with fennel bulb before. This was really lovely. Thank you Elise.

  18. Paul

    Hi Elise! Love the website! What do you think would go great with this?

    • Craig

      Paul, I was going to add this question but you did it for me! In general it would be cool to have a little blurb on pairings for some of the main course recipes.

  19. joe

    What other veggies can I use other than fennel?

  20. Chelsea Rafferty

    I just found your site today and am loving it so far! Bookmarked and am stalking your facebook page.

    Recently I’ve started doing salmon in foil. I put the fillets on top of the foil and in a separate bowl I mix olive oil, fresh dill and fresh green onions/chives from my garden. I also had the juice from a whole lemon (for two decent sized fillets) It’s extremely delicious and my picky 8 year old gobbles this down and wants more, every single time.

    If your grocery store is like mine, you’ll have one side of your fillet that has skin on it. At first I would fry it over the stove medium heat with olive oil and basically peel the fillet, minus the skin free….though it leaves yucky silver on my pan. The second way I’ve found to be much easier is the tin-foil/cook it method… you take it out and its fairly easy to scrape off any skin still left… it tends to cook it and make it a dark brown on the bottom of the fillets.

    Thanks for these awesome recipes… they all look so healthy and easy to make!

  21. pelin

    elise– this was a TOTAL homerun! made it in aluminum foil, had frozen fillets which i thawed beforehand. the lemony salty fishy fennel was the most delicious thing i’ve had in a Long time… and i don’t even like fennel! thank you for the recipe– I’m going to repeat it first chance i get.

  22. Paul M.

    I made this tonight and will add it to the forever list. Light and flavorful, it was complimented superbly by braised baby broccoli. I will, however, have to practice the origami and ended up using paper clips. My bad.

  23. Blue Jean

    I love the flavors in this recipe! And so do my boys (ages 47, 8 and 7). Here’s my suggestion…if you use foil to wrap the salmon, add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
    Otherwise, it’s amazing!

  24. Beth

    I was excited to try this recipe, but felt a little intimidated about folding the parchment paper. Thank you so much for the step by step photos, they really helped me!

  25. Catherine

    My husband said this was the BEST salmon I ever made for him! Success!

  26. Andrea Ehringer

    This was super easy and was DELICIOUS! Crowd pleaser for sure!

  27. Kate

    This was so easy and perfect since I had onhand salmon, fennel from my CSA, and meyer lemons from a neighbor’s backyard. Thanks for the recipe! It’s excellent.

  28. Sandy S

    I am coming to this ‘salmon and fennel in parchment’ party a little late but, boy am I glad that I tried it! As so many have said above, it is a wonderful recipe! So pretty and SO GOOD! Will certainly be making it again in the future. I found simple white rice went well with it. I used the foil lined parchment that is sold as ‘pan liner’ because it was what we had on hand, and it worked just fine. We are realy looking forward to doing more parchment packets with other types of fish and vegis. Thank you Elise for the great recipe and for making dinner time fun!

  29. Gloria M.

    I made this last week and LOVED it! Even my dubious husband (who doesn’t like fish) liked it enough to finish his serving and commented several times on the fancy presentation. :)

    I made one change since I’m not a fan of anise-flavored things. I substituted very thinly sliced potatoes and leeks (quartered lengthwise) underneath the salmon, and it was perfect! The leeks added a delicate flavor and the potatoes soaked up all the yummy juices. Everything cooked through in just 20 minutes. Delicious and easy! Thanks for the recipe!

  30. Rita Soficaru

    I loved it! Quick, healthy, delicious! Thank you!

  31. David Patrick

    So easy, and so good I had to swear!! Love, love, LOVE this recipe! Great way to use all of the fennel. I will be cooking salmon this way for a long time as well as experimenting with potatoes, dill, other fish, and other yummy stuff! Thank you!

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