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Salmon Baked in Paper (Salmone in Cartoccio)

Salmon Baked in Paper (Salmone in Cartoccio)
Although not native to Italian waters, salmon has become a popular fish among cooks in Italy. Naturally, they have adapted it to their tastes, as this recipe, with its fresh herbs, tomatoes and olive oil, illustrates.

The steam that forms inside the paper envelope infuses the fish with the flavor of the seasonings and keeps it moist and tender. You could serve your guests the unopened packets and let them unwrap them at the table, releasing the fragrant steam. Or you could open the packets in the kitchen and transfer the fish and sauce to dinner plates. Aluminum foil, although not as attractive, can be substituted for the parchment.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh marjoram or oregano or
      1/2 tsp. dried
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for oiling paper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 skinless salmon fillets, each about 6 oz. and
      of uniform shape

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, stir together the tomatoes, shallots, marjoram, lemon juice, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper.

Rinse the fish and pat dry. Cut 6 sheets of parchment about 12 inches square. Fold each sheet in half, open like a book and brush the paper to one side of the crease with olive oil. Place a fillet on each oiled side. Spoon the tomato mixture over the fish, dividing it evenly.

Fold the parchment paper over the fish. Tightly seal each package by folding the edges over several times and creasing firmly. Place the packages on 2 baking sheets.

Bake until the salmon is opaque throughout, about 15 minutes. To check for doneness, open a package and pierce the fish with a knife.

Slide the packages onto individual plates and allow the diners to open their own packages.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).