simple salmon #1 : en papillote – salmon parcels with leeks and lemony crème fraiche

18 Jun

My dad was really good at wrapping presents. He aligned the pattern on the paper, made very neat corners and always finished with a cross of ribbon, the ends in ringlets.

He used to drum the steering wheel when he listened to jazz in the car.

He wore the same black shoes and black jeans for years and years, always replacing them with the same model.

He hated small talk.

He really liked lamb. And gooseberries. (Not together.)

Like me, he always had a book on him, in his pocket, in the glovebox.

He believed there were only 2000 people in the world and the rest were just cardboard cutouts.

He said “Good morning Mr Magpie” without fail and out loud everytime we passed a magpie. If there were two, he had to say “Good morning Mrs Magpie” as well.

He made us a proper treehouse by hand.

Today is his birthday. He would have been 61. We would have celebrated in the garden with an extravagant cake. I would have struggled to find him a present, because he had everything he ever wanted. Nonetheless, he always knew how to be sincerely grateful – for his work, his life, his family.

I miss him.

Salmon with leeks en papillote

serves 2

2 fillets salmon

1 big leek

1/2 red pepper

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp sherry vinegar

1 tbs maple syrup

1 tsp molasses

1/2 tsp dried herbs

salt and pepper

(greaseproof paper and string)

Lemony crème fraiche:

100ml crème fraiche

zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp lemon juice


Preheat oven to 180C.

Slice the leek and pepper as thinly as you can. Mix with the oil, vinegar, syrup molasses and herbs. Add some salt and pepper. Also sprinkle some salt and pepper over the salmon fillets.

Cut four big squares of greaseproof paper. Place one square on top of another and scoop 1/4 of the leek/pepper mixture into the middle. Top with a salmon fillet and another 1/4 leek mixture. Tightly fold one layer of paper over the salmon as if it were a present. Tuck in the ends and repeat with the second layer of paper. If the parcel doesn’t not hold together by itself, tie some string around it, again like a present. Make sure you wet the string first so it doesn’t burn.

Repeat with the other fillet, place them both on a baking tray and into the oven for 12-15 minutes.

Mix the zest and juice into the crème fraiche. Add some black pepper if you like. Serve the salmon with a big dollop of lemony crème fraiche, some whole grains, some leaves and some good bread.


2 Responses to “simple salmon #1 : en papillote – salmon parcels with leeks and lemony crème fraiche”

  1. Sophie Marnette June 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Thanks Frances. I will cook this thinking of you and your Dad. I miss my Dad too.


  1. sweet spicy salty salmon fishcakes (simple salmon #2) « tangerine drawings - April 14, 2012

    […] Nearly a year ago now, I wrote about another salmon supper. It was supposed to be a series. The next one in said series has a story about denim and irons. The last one was full of overly poignant memories. […]

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