Monthly Archives: January 2014

Salmon En Papillote with Kalamata Olives

salmon en papillote cookedMy first exposure to En Papillote was about 10 years ago at a dinner party hosted by friend Philippe.  As his name sounds, he is French, from Paris.  I don’t remember how he seasoned the fish, other than he came around to every person adding a dollop if creme fraiche on top, but I do remember it was quite a presentation.

A few years later I read about En Papillote in the cookbook, Jacque and Julia (Pepin and Child, respectively).  They each had their own techniques and well I tried both and can say that it looked much easier in the book.  With some perseverance, I’ve been able to create nice packages in the shape of a half moon. I think you’ll find it easy to replicate.

This recipe calls for Kalamata olives as a key seasoning ingredient.  The olives mix well when it steams with the lemon juice, oil, garlic, parsley and thyme to create a savory flavorful dish.  When working with En Papillote, the trick is to create an air-filled packet with the paper that provides a vessel for steaming the fish with the juices so the fish absorbs the flavors.  Rather than the dollop of creme fraiche, this packet is topped with  full sprigs of thyme that your guests can remove before eating.  It adds great flavor and makes for a nice presentation.

salmon en papillote garlic

To create the half moon packets, take a sheet of parchment paper about 15″ x 15″ and place the fish so that the top horizontal edge lines up with the middle so that the entire fillet is placed in the bottom half of the sheet.

Salt and pepper the fillet, then squeeze the juice of the lemon quarter over the fish and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (I use EVOO).  The oil may run a bit but that is fine.  Lift the paper up so the oil moves closer to the fish. Then place 3 thin slices of garlic on top, followed by 3 sprigs of parsley (I use Italian parsley), and 2 sprigs of thyme.  Then place 4 pitted Kalamata olives on top.

salmon en papillote ready to encase

When you’re ready to create the packet, fold the top half over the fish and bring the edges of the paper together by holding the center portion and crimp it with your hands bu folding the paper in small increments up in sort of a roll, and moving the crimp up the left until you get to the edge.  Fold the end tighter into the crimp.  Then go back to the center when you started, and crimp the right side in the same way you did the left. You’ll end up with a half-moon shape.

salmon en papilotte one wrapped

Repeat with the other fillets.  This can be done several hours ahead and placed in refrigerator to store and taking out a few minutes prior to cooking.

salmon en papillotte on tray

Salmon En Papillote with Kalamata Olives


4 5-6 oz wild salmon fillets
1 lemon quartered
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 hearty sprigs thyme
8 full leaf sprigs parsley
2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
16 pitted kalamata olives
4 pieces of parchment paper about 15″  x 15″
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the salmon fillets.  Place one salmon filet in parchment paper so that the top of the horizontal filet meets the middle of the parchment paper. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon quarter on top of the fillet, followed by drizzling 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place 3 slices if garlic on the fillet, then the parsley sprigs followed by the thyme. Place 4 olives on top.  Fold the top portion if the parchment over to meet the bottom portion and crimp the edges tightly starting in the middle and working your way up the left side and then from the middle, crimp the right side into a half moon shape.  Preheat oven to 400° and bake the fish for 15 minutes.  Serve each guest one parchment package.

Serves 4.


Fab 5: Healthy Food List

It’s January. The time of year when we remember just how well we celebrated the holidays by the fit of our clothes. And, we make resolutions to be healthier and leaner.  I am all for doing whatever it takes to get the motivation to live a healthier life.

Since I have launched this blog, I have written about workout programs, calorie-trackers and eating guidelines that help me to continuously live and eat healthy. In the spirit of the New Year, here are my top 5 foods that help me maintain eating healthy week in and week out.  These are food that I have come to love and believe in for helping me eat healthy, maintain calorie control and feel satisfied.

Almonds/Almond Butter

amond butter w alm

A handful of almonds go a very long way.  Nine clinical studies have shown that almonds help lower cholesterol when part of a diet low in saturated fat. Almonds, high in monounsaturated fats, also help reduce the risk of heart disease. They are great as a snack, and I sometimes chop them up and put them in my oatmeal.  But most often, I eat almonds in the form of Almond Butter – 1 tablespoon on a rice cake for breakfast. It’s filling, healthy and makes for a low-calorie breakfast.


BeansBeans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Studies show that eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer. (dr oz) I eat beans 4-5 times a week.  I put them in my salads (garbanzo, northern, kidney and black beans) about a half a cup for a serving, and make bean-based soups.  Not only are they healthy, but they are hearty, leaving me full. I often add pumpkin seeds or other nuts to my salad or soup to help make it a complete protein meal, such as my lentil soup with mushrooms and pepitos.

Lundberg Brown Rice Cakes    

lundberg rice cake

For this one, I named a brand rather than just including brown rice cakes.  It’s because I love these organic gluten-free rice cakes more so than other brands because they are sturdier, tighter packed and can therefore hold toppings better, even wet toppings like tuna salad.  This is my personal view (I’m not collecting money to say this).  Since Lundberg’s are tighter packed, they contain more calories than the lighter ones but they are also more filling.


salmon en papillote garlic

I make a concerted effort to eat fish several times a week because fish offers high protein at fewer calories than other animal proteins and there are great health benefits. Research, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that eating oily fish once or twice a week may increase your lifespan. Salmon, in particular, is considered an oily fish and one that is very high in omega-3 fats, which have been shown to reduce heart disease.  Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and many more.  I often poach salmon, bake it in a roasting pan or en papillote – steamed in parchment paper (see recipe).   

Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes are a true super food so it’s no wonder they make my top 5 healthy food list.  They’re filling, healthy, gluten-free and high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.  When cooked well, they are naturally sweet and moist and require no butter or anything.  Just wash them, wrap them in foil and bake in a 400° oven until they are soft.  It takes a while – depending on size, it can be 1-1 ½ hours. Because they take so long to bake and a microwave doesn’t do them justice, I often make them on a weekend and keep them in the refrigerator for eating later in the week.  I’ll eat them at room temperature at lunch or heat them up for dinner.

Another way I eat sweet potatoes is to make chips out of them.  Dice the sweet potatoes into 1/4″ pieces.  Place on a baking sheet. Add olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper and bake in a 400° oven for about 25 minutes.  The pieces with the skin on will get a bit crunchy  the inside pieces will not.  You will need to watch it so that the potatoes are not too crunchy, or else they’ll be burnt. I sometimes eat this as a snack, or as a side dish.