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Salmon in Parchment

Let the amount and variety of fresh mushrooms be dictated by the season, their availability and your budget. You can use reconstituted dried chanterelle, shiitake or porcini in place of some of the fresh mushrooms, either for variety or if the supply of fresh is limited. Substitute about 1 oz. dried mushrooms for 1/4 lb. fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for about 30 minutes until soft
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms such as chanterelle, porcini, morel and/or cremini, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. dry or medium-dry sherry
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • 4 salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total, pin bones removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook the mushrooms
Drain the shiitakes, remove the tough stems and slice the caps. In a fry pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the fresh and reconstituted mushrooms and green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. If they release a lot of liquid, raise the heat to evaporate the liquid. Add the sherry and soy sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are nearly dry, 2 more minutes. Set aside to cool.

Make parchment packets
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Season the salmon lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.

Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper, each 12 by 16 inches, and lay them on a work surface. Bring the short sides of 1 sheet together, then fold the sheet in half and crease. Open the sheet flat and place a salmon fillet, skin side down, on one side of the crease. Spoon one-fourth of the mushroom mixture, including any buttery juices, over the fish. Bring the uncovered side of the parchment over the salmon, and starting at one end of the crease, fold the edges together to create a sealed packet. Repeat to make 3 more, then put the 4 packets on a rimmed baking sheet.

Cook the salmon
Bake until the packets are puffed and browned and the salmon is opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Transfer to individual plates and serve immediately, letting diners carefully open the hot packets at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).