Salmon Saves the Day...

Some days, you just need something to go right for a change. Every day this week I have discovered a new realm of frustration at work. It's rained the last two days, and it's supposed to rain tomorrow, just when I discovered a leak in my galoshes. I could go on, but let's just say that it's safe to assume that I've had better weeks.

That's why I was so happy that my dinner tonight turned things around. I've been making this simple recipe for salmon cooked in parchment paper longer than a year now, predominately because it is fast, but also because it is delicious and helps to inject a little elegance into a weeknight meal. There's nothing to it other than a salmon filet, some vegetables, and garlic, steamed quickly in the microwave. I love everything about it:
  • It's healthy.
  • It doesn't dirty any pans.
  • It's a single serving, so there's no leftovers.
  • It's done in half a hour - until today.
This afternoon, whilst I was sitting at my desk, fuming over the latest thing to go wrong with my job, inspiration struck. What if I could use a vegetable peeler to make vegetable ribbons to cook with the salmon, instead of using a mandolin to slice them into a fine julienne? It would make the dish even faster, and I wouldn't have to negotiate washing the dangerous blades of the mandolin. It was the best thing that had happened to me all day.

Not only did my little innovation work beautifully, I had dinner on the table in under twenty minutes. Take that Rachel Ray!

Salmon en Papillote

1 small, or 1/2 large zucchini, sliced into ribbons
1 large carrot, sliced into ribbons
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 large clove, or 2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
1 salmon fillet
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut a 36 inch piece of parchment paper, fold in half, and cut into an exaggerated heart shape, and lay flat on the counter.
2. Pile the vegetables and garlic on one half of the heart and season with salt. Mix everything together well.
3. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place on top of the vegetables.
4. Fold the other half of the heart over the top. Starting at the non-pointed end, crimp the parchment paper all the way around and fold the tail under.
5. Slide the packet onto a plate and microwave 4 minutes on high. Open the packet and serve.

Feel free to play around with the vegetables you include. Anything that is thin and quick-cooking would work here. I've had good success with snow peas, myself.

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