Cooking Seafood: Poaching And Cooking En Papillote

Cooking Seafood: Poaching And Cooking En Papillote

In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at two techniques: poaching and cooking in parchment paper (en papillote).

Poaching Seafood

Seafood may be poached in a simple vegetable broth seasoned with white wine and/or vinegar. This broth, called a court bouillon, imparts additional flavor during cooking.

Seafood that will be served cold should be allowed to cool in the broth. Be sure to take this into consideration when determining cooking time. Ready for more tips? Read on:

  • Keep the temperature of the broth stable at around 180°F (82°C).
  • Wrap aromatics in cheesecloth so they are easily removed once the broth has cooked and the seafood won't need to be cleaned of stray vegetables and herbs.
  • Add shrimp to simmering broth and then remove the pan from heat. The shrimp will cook in the residual heat from the broth.

Cooking Seafood en papillote

This technique, which combines of baking, braising, and steaming, cooks the fish in its own juices while trapping them to serve as a sauce. Follow these hints to get started:

  • For each piece of fish, fold a piece of parchment paper in half and cut a rectangle 12 to 14 inches long, and 9 to 10 inches wide.
  • Brush the bottom edge of the pouch with lightly beaten egg white. Fold over the top and crimp the edges to seal.
  • Place the pouch on a baking sheet and bake at 475°F (246°C) for 8 to 10 minutes for thin fillets, or 15 minutes for thick fillets.

A Recipe for Success

For more detailed instructions on poaching and cooking seafood en papillote, check out the recipes to the right!

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About the Author

After receiving degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the Culinary Institute of America, Andrea Rappaport moved into a full-time career in the restaurant business. For over 12 years, she worked in various culinary jobs, including as a cook for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, and ultimately as the executive chef and partner of the highly revered San Francisco restaurant Zinzino. For the past seven years, Andrea has worked as the private chef for one family in the San Francisco area, and continues to expand her culinary portfolio by catering, teaching, and consulting.