My French cooking lesson: Isabelle’s saumon en papillote
Kudos to all mums
Last weekend, my husband and I took a long overdue trip to Paris to visit some of our friends. A. was the best man at our wedding and it’s amazing to think that we’ve been friends with him for over 15 years.
Work, life, distance, having a child (him, not us) etc have all made it more difficult to see each other as much as we’d have liked but with friends like ours, it’s always refreshing to know that it doesn’t matter how much time has passed, we’ll have a good time when we do meet up again.
A few years ago, A. had a son with his partner, Isabelle, and this trip to Paris was all about spending time with them and their little boy, whom I’ll refer to as A+ as his name also begins with an A. I met A+ 3 years ago but haven’t seen him since; partly for reasons stated but also because my husband and I just aren’t very good with kids.
Many women simply won’t be able to understand this but my husband and I have never really desired to have kids. It’s not that we never tried, we did, but when it didn’t work, it wasn’t the end of the world for me or for him.
Most women react quite strangely to this when I tell them our story, and look at me oddly like I should be bursting into tears about it and I just don’t know why.
My life is no less fulfilling or fulfilled without children in it.
Meantime, I have plenty of love to give to my friends’ kids. I get all the fun of playing with them and none of the hassle as I hand them back at the end of the day, hehehe.
Seriously though, I do have masses of admiration for all the women who have children, especially when it comes to mealtimes because nothing is more stressful that having to watch young children while you’re trying to whip up dinner at the same time.
Your ears are bombarded by shouts, cries, mumbling, laughing or screaming while little fingers are everywhere and in everything! All this while you’re trying to weld a knife and deal with saucepans, sauces, runaway vegetables, temperatures and a thousand other things. Phew.
So watching Isabelle do all this without even batting an eyelid was a masterclass in patience and poise – she is the ultimate cool cucumber.
Today’s recipe is 100% Isabelle’s own creation and I can truly say it’s quite simply one of the loveliest ways to cook and eat salmon. It’s a salmon fillet, dressed in chives and creme fraiche and wrapped in smoked salmon and pickled lemons before being baked/steamed in a ‘bag’ – it is truly divine!
I had the easiest job of all, just taking photos, writing up her recipe and eating, of course. 🙂
I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I did, and in Isabelle’s honour, I dedicate it to all those hardworking mums out there. Bon appetit!
Lots of love
Isabelle’s saumon en papillote
This is a great dish for dinner parties because you can prepare the fish in advance and leave it aside or in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. The quantities below are based on making one salmon fillet per person, so just multiply it based on how many packages you need to make.
One piece of silver foil (for wrapping the salmon in)
One piece of fresh salmon, bones removed
One piece of smoked salmon
½ pickled lemon, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh/frozen chopped chives
¼ wedge of lemon
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
½ – 1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (celsius).
On your square of silver foil, lay your piece of smoked salmon onto the foil and place the fresh salmon fillet on top of the smoked salmon.
Squeeze lemon juice all over the fillet and smoked salmon.
Sprinkle a dash of herb seasoned salt over your salmon fillet and some black pepper.
Then top your salmon fillet with the chives.
Pour the creme fraiche over the salmon fillet and then wrap the smoked salmon fillet over your fillet and tuck the ends under the fillet so you end up with a little salmon parcel.
Drizzle some olive oil over the salmon with a pinch more black pepper.
Lay your slices of pickled lemon on the top and then seal up your salmon package, making sure it’s wrapped up properly and isn’t leaking.
To cook, bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes then turn your oven down to 160 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.
We had ours with grilled courgettes and some plain boiled rice. Bon appetit!