French in a Flash: Mustardy Salmon in a Packet with Asparagus


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

This dish is a real weeknight wonder and proof that cooking French food can be really easy. It features my own little version of papillote parceling—not as beautiful as the all-parchment pleated version, but far more efficient. I tear off a big sheet of foil and line it with a slightly smaller sheet of parchment, giving me the ease of folding and sealing foil with the non-reactive contact of parchment on the food. I pile on a huge handful of asparagus, followed by salmon and a quick cold sauce of crème fraîche, Dijon mustard, grain mustard, and white wine. Then, I wrap the whole thing up in the foil packet and run it into the oven for about 12 minutes. It's like making your own fresh version of a frozen dinner. Everything you need—your veggies, your fish, your sauce—is already in that packet, and you eat it right out of the parchment. No muss, no fuss!

When the packets are in the oven, the trapped steam cooks the asparagus, poaches the salmon, and melts the creamy mustard sauce into rivulets that permeate the fish and the asparagus. I eat it with warm crusty bread to soak up some of the steaming sauce. C'est si bon!

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Mustardy Salmon in a Packet with Asparagus »