Salmon en Papillote
Salmon en Papillote is an easy and satisfying recipe that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner. It’s flavorful and aromatic!
Good things happen when you seal a bunch of ingredients in a bag and let their aromas and flavors meld together.
I’m always taken aback every time I make this recipe and am reminded of how delicious it is.
It’s kind of like Baked Salmon, except everything gets wrapped tightly in parchment paper, sealing in a really fragrant steam that ends up flavoring everything inside the pouch.
The basic 5-ingredient formula here is:
- Salmon – Serves as the main protein for the dish. Other fish like mahi mahi or cod can be swapped in (see notes further down).
- Zucchini – Serves as the main vegetable. Other vegetables like haricot vert or asparagus can be swapped in (see more vegetable suggestions in the notes below).
- Shallot – A supporting vegetable and flavor that adds wonderful aroma to the steam.
- Dill – Incredibly compatible with salmon and provides amazing flavor and aroma to the parchment packet.
- Lemon – Provides acidity and also gives amazing aroma and flavor.
I like to season it all with salt and pepper, and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, but otherwise, the ingredients here are quite minimal.
You can make individual parchment packets for everyone in your family and bake it all at the same time on one sheet pan, or you can bake multiple portions in one packet.
I discuss and show this further down, but you can fold your own packet with a sheet of parchment paper, or you can buy parchment bags from the store.
How to Make Salmon En Papillote:
Lay out a piece of parchment paper, and add sliced fresh zucchini, sliced shallots, and a drizzle of olive oil:
The optimal thickness for the zucchini to be tender but not completely mushy is somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″ thick.
Season the zucchini with salt and pepper, then add a 6-ounce salmon fillet portion and drizzle olive oil on that as well:
Season the fish with salt and pepper, then add fresh dill on top:
Finally, lay some thinly sliced fresh lemon on top of the dill layer:
That’s it for the ingredients. Time to seal the parchment!
Three Ways to Crimp the Parchment Paper Shut:
Folding Style #1: For my favorite method, I prefer to use a 13″ x 16″ pre-cut rectangular sheet of parchment paper (affiliate), then fold the long edge over a few times, as shown below:
Once the long edge is done, fold in the sides:
Then, to make sure the edges don’t come undone, I tuck them underneath, so the weight of the fish and ingredients holds it all down:
Folding Style #2: You can take the same rectangular sheet of parchment paper, and repeatedly fold in the edges in a half moon shape.
In this case, the crimping holds pretty well, so you don’t have to tuck the paper underneath the fish.
I don’t like the look as much but this is merely personal preference.
Folding Style #3: Parchment Bags are sold at most grocery stores now. You can see below, it’s a big bag that you can put in fish, meats, etc, then simply fold the end over a few times:
I tested out some of these bags, but still prefer using a rectangular sheet of parchment paper because it’s harder to properly season the ingredients and layer them. But I realize this may be personal preference as well.
Make Sure the Parchment Paper is Well Sealed
Regardless of which Folding Method or Bag you use, really make sure the ends are folded tightly.
Trapping in all of the flavors and aromas during cooking is the whole point of roasting the fish and vegetables in the parchment paper.
How Long to Bake:
At a 350F temperature, you’ll want to bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of your salmon.
If you have a really thin piece of salmon, which is more common with wild salmons like sockeye, you will be on the low end, and I’d aim for 15 minutes. I like to stop cooking when the interior is 125F, which is medium.
20 minutes is more typical for most pieces of salmon. You can see my piece of farmed salmon was quite thick.
Tear open the parchment paper at the table, and enjoy the aromas. It’s one of my favorite parts!
FAQ and Tips for Salmon en Papillote:
How to Make Ahead: You can assemble all the raw ingredients in the parchment packs and keep them in the fridge on a sheet pan until you are ready to bake, up to 6 hours ahead of time. I recommend taking the pan out of the fridge 15 minutes before baking, so the ingredients aren’t quite as cold when they go into the oven.
How to Store Leftovers: I recommend you DO NOT store the lemon slices with any leftovers, as they will continue to impart very strong flavor on the fish and vegetables. After cooking, discard the lemon. You can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Special Diets: This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, Whole30 compliant, paleo, and keto friendly.
Other Fish: You can also experiment with substituting other kinds of fish like Mahi Mahi, Arctic Char, Snapper, Barramundi, and Cod.
Other Vegetables: Zucchini is my favorite vegetable for this recipe, but you could also substitute haricot vert, asparagus, mini sweet bell peppers, yellow squash, and bok choy. Make sure you stick to the quicker cooking vegetables. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots would take too long to cook.
More Fish and Seafood Recipes:
Salmon en Papillote
- 1 large zucchini sliced between 1/4" and 1/2" thick
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 6-ounce pieces of salmon
- 1/2 cup fresh dill
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lay out two pieces of 13"x16" pre-cut parchment paper.
- Arrange a single layer of zucchini slices on each piece of parchment paper, big enough for the fish to sit on (I usually do 8 slices of zucchini each). Sprinkle over the sliced shallots. Drizzle each zucchini parchment serving with 1 tbsp of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. I do this by eye, but 1/8 tsp of each should be sufficient.
- Place one salmon piece on each zucchini layer, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper as well. 1/4 tsp of salt for each salmon fillet is a good starting point.
- Arrange the dill on top of the salmon, and cover with a single layer of fresh lemon slices.
- Seal the parchment paper well by repeatedly folding the ends over each other, taking care to make sure it is well sealed. You don’t want any steam to escape. See blog post for photos.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of your salmon. I recommend cooking the salmon to medium doneness, at 125F. You can check the salmon by poking the thermometer through the paper, but try not to open the paper up completely.
- Plate the entire packet on plates, still sealed, then tear open the parchment paper at the table to full savor the aromas. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in August 2020. Originally published May 2013.