Saturday, May 23, 2015

Parchment-steamed Salmon with Tomatoes and Onions

Well, hello again! I am back! I hope.

Salmon with tomatoes and onions in parchment ready for cooking
My intermediate hula classes are done and hopefully, I can get back to a semi-normal routine, whatever that means. I think there are more expectations now from my hula teacher, now that I am officially an `olapa (hula dancer). My martial arts teacher is probably expecting me back too, and of course, there is that day job “work” thing.


I do need to get my blogging legs… err, fingers back. Blogging is one of my creative outlets, and I do enjoy writing. I find by writing more, I get to practice constantly, and my communication at work and life improves (although the style is different). Writing also stirs up the creative juices in my head, and opens up other avenues. Lastly, I get to research the ingredients and methods that I am blogging about, which makes me a better cook.

Enough of blog talk, let's get back to food.

What I would like to share with you is one of my favorite way to cook fish these days. For those who follow me in instagram, you probably know what that is. It’s cooking “en pappilote" in French or “al cartoccio” in Italian or simply “in parchment”.

Example of fish wrapped in parchmentIt’s so easy and involves minimal cleaning. These first two is a huge plus these days.  Most importantly though, the fish remains moist the next day (if it lasts that long). It’s also a low-fat way of cooking since I don’t really need to add oil in the mixture. If I have whole grains cooked for the week, all I need to do is prep a salad or cook some veggies with the fish. Easy!

The other plus is that I found a way to cook it in the microwave (translate: it's fast).  I saw this techcnique while browsing through Shape Magazine. Unfortunately, I could not find that recipe online anymore, but this recipe from is very close (It also gave me some background on that dish. Merci beaucoup!). I kept the recipe the old-fashioned way: clipping it...does anyone still do that?

I experimented on the ingredients and loved the method.  I would vary the fish and veggies and most of the time the results were good. My only fails so far has been overloading the parchment with veggies. I find that this upset the flavor balance.  

Salmon with tomatoes and onions servedWhat I am sharing with you is a slight variation of a recipe that I frequently used when I was first starting out. I had a furnished apartment, but almost no cooking utensils. If I remember correctly, the  only things I had were a hand-me-down rice cooker, some spoons, a fork, some plates and a glass. Back then, I did not use parchment and am now quite embarrassed to share what I used. But needless to say, this is a better method of cooking this recipe and sharing this recipe brings me back to those early simpler days.

I do have a one (or two) more Maddification from my that old recipe. In this recipe, I used salmon instead of a lighter fish (like sole or tilapia). My husband always says that salmon is what I eat most of the time (Not true, but it is my favorite fish). 

I also do not remove the skin in this recipe; I just remove the scales. Love the skin! I use my knife to gently remove it. Our fish guy will not do it unless I am buying the whole fish.

Here’s what I have…Hope you enjoy!

Parchment-steamed Salmon with Tomatoes and Onions
Based on the Parchment-steamed salmon with Fennel from Shape Magazine, December 2014


  • 2 six ounce (6 oz) salmon fillets, skinned or with skin (remove the scales, if using skin)
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced (you can use any tomato, about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 onion (about 1/4 cup)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Special equipment: parchment paper, split (for two servings). Make sure it is enough to wrap the onions, tomatoes and fish.


  1. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  2. On two pieces of parchment paper, add the onions (bottom), salmon (middle) and tomatoes.
  3. Fold sheets over to close, and roll and crimp edges to form sealed packets.
  4. Microwave packets on high for 4 minutes. Open  a corner of a packet (carefully, steam can be very hot) and check that the salmon flakes at the touch of the fork. If not, microwave in 25-second intervals until cooked through.
  5. Serve with rice or quinoa, and a green salad if you want more veggies.


I love this recipe. It uses few ingredients and again, simple prep and minimal clean-up. I would encourage you to experiment with veggies, perhaps see what’s in season and see how it turns up. My rule really is to make sure there is sufficient moisture, particularly for microwave cooking.

Just for reference: I also have tried these recipes below. They were delicious!

The original recipe slightly modified: Salmon with Fennel and Lemon

Salmon with Fennel and Lemon

Salmon with Carrots, Potatoes, and olives. I think I based this on a recipe from The Chew, most likely from Mario Batali. I think my husband is right - I love Salmon!

Salmon with carrots, potatoes and olives in parchment

Going simple: Tilapia with Lemon and Grape Tomatoes. I put fresh parsley to finish.

Tilapia with lemon and grape tomatoes in parchment

Bon appetit!