Thursday, September 23, 2010

Healthy + Tasty = En Papillote

This semester I am taking a Healthy Cuisine cooking class and I plan to share with you all the interesting recipes I learn. Any recipe cooked with sticks of butter and salt taste good but the real challenge is how to make healthy food taste good without all the fat & salt. Boring right?

So not boring! I learned a new healthy way to cook this past week which is amazing. I always wondered how to do it and was surprised by how easy, fun, delicious and healthy it was!
En Papillote (pronounced on-poppy oat) is the technique I want to share with you. En Papillote means "in parchment" in french. Its a method of cooking which food is put into a folded pouch or parcel (typically parchment paper) and then baked. Sometimes a paper bag or aluminum foil is used. The parcel holds in the moisture to steam the food.
The moisture can come from the food itself or by adding a liquid like water, wine or stock. Its most often used to cook fish but chicken is great to use as well. There is hardly any fat used and this technique stands on its own.
In class we had an Iron Chef competition where we got to use all the ingredients in the classroom and each team got to prepare their En Papillote. I was the sous chef at my table so I planned the menu with the help of my team and it came out fantastic. Our dishes were even the chef's favorites!
We made a Soy Honey Cod En Papillote over sauteed red peppers, carrots and scallions and a Herb Crusted Chicken with a Dijon Lemon Garlic sauce served over onions.
It was so good and easy!
To make the pouch - Cut a piece of parchment paper (doubled over) large enough to fit your fillet and an inch or more margin around it. Cut a heart shape for the pocket...just like grade school valentines. Open the heart and use egg whites to brush the outside of one side of the heart. This works as the glue. Then you add your aromatic veggies and herbs, fish or chicken, garnish and wrap it up. Fold the heart over pressing the clean side of the heart against the egg wash. Start at the wider part of the heart and start folding the paper over itself. As you move around the heart you will end at the pointed part of the heart. Leave a little hole to then carefully poor in your liquid. This is going to help flavor and steam your fish or chicken. Then fold under securely so no liquid leaks out.Herb Crusted Chicken with Dijon Lemon Garlic Sauce
1 chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper
make a rub with the above ingredients, coat the chicken and brown it in a pan with a little olive oil. 2-3 minutes each side. Do not cook through. This is just to give the chicken color. Slice up the chicken and keep assembled to be whole and set aside.
1 tbl spoon Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon
1 tbl spoon white wine
whisk together till thick and add salt & pepper to taste
3 thin lemon slices
1/2 onion Julienne
1 tbl spoon chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup chicken stock
On the middle of one side of the heart (side with egg wash) place onions, top with cut chicken assembled to be whole, poor sauce on top of chicken, add lemon slices and top with parsley. Wrap up and at the end poor in chicken stock. Put on cookie sheet and spray the top with cooking spray. This will help the paper brown. Cook @ 400 degrees for 18-25 minutes depending on thickness of chicken. Once done cut an X on the top of the pouch and peel back. Careful of the steam that will release. Enjoy your healthy meal and get creative and create your very own En Papillote recipe now. You will be surprised how fun & easy it is. Even more fun to eat.

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