I’ve had ‘En Papillote’ down on my list as a technique to try for awhile. It’s another way of steaming your food but with added flavour! ‘En Papillote’ simply means ‘in parchment’ in French and it is a technique of baking ingredients inside a paper parcel. I used to make similar parcels out of foil and cook salmon fillets with lemon slices in them, it kept the fish incredibly soft and juicy, but I had never tried making a parcel from baking/ parchment paper. It worked really nicely and I love how the ingredients stay very true to their natural form but just with an added depth of flavour from the liquid you use (in this case white wine). The potatoes were soft but not mushy and the fennel and spring onions had absorbed all the lemon and wine flavour but again still with a bit of bite.
It took me quite a long time to decide what to put in the parcel, I have seen plenty of Mushroom en papillote recipes before so I wanted to do something a little different. I loved poached fennel when I tried poaching my veggies so I knew I had to include fennel again! Then I decided on new potatoes because they are very in season at the moment and great for side dishes at a BBQ or summery lunch. They are also small enough to be cooked in this way in a relatively short amount of time. I originally thought about adding leeks but Spring onions were thrown in at the last minute because I had an abundance of them in the fridge and I’d never really cooked them before (only sliced them onto a salad).
This recipe would be perfect as a side dish at a BBQ. I’m not sure if you could actually cook it on a grill (maybe if you soaked the paper first???) but it could definitely be cooked in the oven and then bought outside for people to help themselves too along side BBQ’d vegetable skewers, corn on the cobs, veg sausages and mixed salads.
This portion would serve two, you could make individual sized parcels or even party sized ones! Just half or double up the recipe until you have enough to feed all of your guests.
Gluten free, vegan, BBQ side dish, seasonal!
250g (approx 8-10) New Potatoes
1/2 Fennel bulb
4 Spring Onions
1/2 Lemon (juice)
1 tblspn Extra virgin olive oil
2 tblspn White Wine
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 180c (fan oven) or 200c normal oven.
Cut two rectangles of parchment paper (use the whole width of the roll) big enough to fit your potatoes into the middle (you are going to double up the thickness). Lay the two pieces on top of each other then scrunch the paper up slightly around the edges so that it is a boat shape. Place the whole potatoes in the middle, trim the roots and any rough looking dark green ends off your spring onions and layer them on top and then roughly slice your fennel and place that around the potatoes. Make sure you keep the delicate fennel fronds to one side as a garnish. Squeeze over the lemon and pour over the oil and wine then top with the whole sprigs of thyme.
Give it a good grind of salt and pepper and seal the parcel shut at the top leaving plenty of room in the middle to let it steam properly. Make sure the paper is really sealed tightly and give it a little shake to combine all of the ingredients.
Cook for 35 minutes, check the potatoes are cooked through the middle by slightly opening the paper and piercing them with a knife then once done, fully open the parcel, sprinkle over the fennel fronds and serve immediately. The potatoes are also very nice cold the next day with the juice from the parcel poured over the top.
What would you cook in an ‘en papillote’ parcel? What’s your favourite BBQ side dish?