Salmon en Papillote sounds super fancy but it’s a fast and easy recipe, perfect for date night! Not only is the salmon baked with a flavorful lemon dill compound butter, but it’s served with fresh and beautiful gremolata.
One of the best things about knowing how to cook is wowing people. It’s why I love sharing my secrets with you: not only do you get to be wowed, but when you make my recipes, you wow your loved ones.
When I told my husband I was making salmon en papillote for dinner (and for the blog) he said, “Whoa, that sounds fancy! Are you sure people will be able to remake it?”
Of course, I just laughed.
Because the secret to salmon en papillote is that…it’s just salmon steamed in parchment paper.
It sounds way more impressive and romantic in French, though, so it’s really perfect for Valentine’s Day coming up. Your girlfriend/boyfriend will never guess that this took about 20 minutes from start to finish.
Honestly, it’s so easy that I even take this recipe as a go-to weeknight dish. Seriously! This recipe has three very fancy-sounding elements, but they are so simple and easy to do and two of them can even be made ahead of time!
To make salmon en papillote, you need parchment paper. I like cutting it into huge hearts as I learned in culinary school, not to mention it’s cute and kinda romantic for your date to open up their parchment packet into a heart.
Place a 4-6 ounce skinless piece of salmon on one half of the heart, season pretty generously on both sides with salt and pepper. It’s like seasoning potatoes or avocados, you need a nice amount of salt.
After that, I slather on a delicious lemon dill compound butter. Once again, sounds fancy, totally is not. Take softened butter, minced lemon zest, chopped dill, lemon juice, and minced or pressed garlic. Mix it all up, and spread it on the top of the salmon in a thick, buttery layer.
Fold the other half of the heart over your salmon, and crimp the edges tightly to seal it all up. It’ll look like a parchment empanada, and it’ll make sure all that buttery goodness stays inside the packet.
Cook this for about 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, chop up more of that fresh dill, add in some fresh flat leaf parsley, more pressed garlic, and zip up some more lemon zest. That’s it: your fresh gremolata. When the salmon is done, bring a bowl of your gremolata to the table to spoon over your unwrapped salmon. It’s the perfect fresh element on your salmon and creates a pretty presentation at the table.
Boom, your date night entree is done. Que fancy, y’all.
I suggest serving with some crispy garlic parm smashed potatoes, over lemon parmesan risotto with peas, or gnocchi with bacon cream sauce.
Or for super easy clean up, add some quick cooking veg into the parchment like asparagus, green beans, shredded carrots, thinly sliced zucchini, or bell peppers. They will all be full of that flavor from the lemon compound butter but won’t be overcooked because of the short time in the oven.
Ready to wow your loved ones this Valentine’s Day? Make some salmon en papillote, take a shot, and tag #sweetteathyme on IG so I can see and show your work off! I love seeing you guys in action!
Looking for more Valentine’s Recipes? Check out:
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- 2 (6 ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste for salmon
Lemon Dill Compound Butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- 1 clove garlic
- Zest of one whole lemon
For Lemon Dill Compound Butter
In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter, salt, lemon zest, dill, and parsley. Set aside.
Finely chop all the ingredients, then set aside in a bowl for serving.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut two 15 inch long by 12 inch wide pieces of parchment paper. Fold the long side in half and cut into a heart-shape. The parchment paper should be large enough to contain one portion of fish while folded in half.
Place one portion of salmon on each piece of parchment on a baking sheet, then season generously with salt and pepper. Smear the softened compound butter over each portion of fish, covering from end to end.
Fold the other half of the parchment paper over the salmon; starting at one corner, tightly crimp the edges of the paper to seal it.
Place the pouches (papillote) on a sheet pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. When baked, the parchment paper should puff up and brown slightly, this is completely normal. Remove from the oven and transfer the envelope to a plate; the envelope should be carefully opened and the salmon topped with your fresh gremolata.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328 Total Fat: 26g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 37g Cholesterol: 116mg Sodium: 268mg Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g Protein: 77g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.