En papillote technique fine for seafood, chicken

Complied by Eric Akis, Times Colonist Published: Wednesday, June 04, 2008

SALMON AND SHRIMP EN PAPILLOTE

Serve this fish dish for two with boiled new potatoes and asparagus.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 12-14 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

100 grams cooked salad shrimp

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp dried tarragon

4 (5-oz.) salmon filets

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 tsp cold butter

2 Tbsp white wine

- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper, each 18 by 12 inches. Fold each piece in half to create a rectangle, and then cut each rectangle, with scissors or a knife, into a large, half-heart shape.

Combine the shrimp, garlic, parsley and tarragon in a small bowl. Unfold one of the cut pieces of parchment paper to a heart shape. Set a piece of salmon on one side of the paper; season with salt and pepper. Top the salmon with half the shrimp mixture. Top the shrimp mixture with 2 tsp of the butter, broken in tiny nuggets, and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the wine. Fold the paper over the fish and seal the edges as shown in the step-by-step photographs on page C1. Set on a baking sheet. Repeat these steps with the other piece of parchment paper, salmon and toppings.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the paper has browned and puffed and the contents are bubbling inside. Transfer the parchment packages to dinner plates. Cut open with scissors at the dinner table and enjoy.

CURRIED CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES EN PAPILLOTE

Serve the chicken with steamed basmati rice, mango chutney and warm naan bread.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

1 1/2 Tbsp mild, medium or hot Indian-style curry paste (see note)

1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

4 (5-6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

20 snap or snow peas, trimmed

1/2 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

4 Tbsp orange juice

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, each 18 by 12 inches. Fold each piece in half to create a rectangle, and then cut each rectangle, with scissors or a knife, into a large, half-heart shape.

Place the curry paste and lime juice in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the chicken and turn to coat evenly. Unfold one of the cut pieces of parchment paper to a heart shape. Set a piece of the chicken on one side of the paper. Top the chicken with 1/4 of the snap peas, bell pepper and onion. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the orange juice, and then sprinkle with 1/4 of the chopped cilantro, if using. Fold and seal the chicken inside the paper as shown in the step-by-step photographs on page C1. Set on a baking sheet. Repeat these steps with the remaining pieces of parchment paper, chicken and toppings.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the paper has browned and puffed and the contents are bubbling inside. Transfer the parchment packages to dinner plates. Cut open with scissors at the dinner table and enjoy.

Note: Curry paste is available in the Asian food aisle of most supermarkets. The brand I used was Patak's. Magazine honours culinary retreat

Fairburn Farm Culinary Retreat and Guesthouse near Duncan has been listed as one of the 45 most memorable cooking vacations in the world in the May issue of Gourmet magazine. To celebrate, the operator of the retreat, Mara Jernigan, will host some special events.

Sunday at 1 p.m., a six-course, Venturi-Schulze Vineyard winemaker's lunch will be served. The meal, an Italian-style feast, will take place on the picturesque veranda of the farm and feature new wine releases from Venturi-Schulze. Cost is $85 per person plus tax and gratuity.

This summer Fairburn Farm will also offer field-to-table cooking classes. Participants help harvest ingredients for a summer feast served with local wine. Once the picking is done, they take a break and snack on pizza cooked in an outdoor brick oven, before tying on their aprons and helping to prepare the main feast. Classes take place Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost $135 per person plus tax. To book a spot for the lunch or a cooking class call 250-746-4637. For more information visit fairburnfarm.bc.ca.

EMPRESS PLANS ANNIVERSARY TEA

In honour of its 100th anniversary, every Friday afternoon until Sept. 26, the Fairmont Empress hotel will hold a special centennial tea. This offering, which is in addition to the tea served in the tea lobby, will take place in the library or in the Empress harbourside room. Seatings are at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The lavishness of this tea is reflected in $100-per-person price. The service starts with amuse bouche, a bite-sized appetizer that could include local spot prawns, and a glass of Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne, the same wine served to toast the opening of the hotel in 1908.

Items that follow include a selection of world-class teas; fresh fruit with whipped cream; warm scones with decadent preserves; and sumptuous tea sandwiches, such as lobster with grilled asparagus and truffle, duck confit with poached pear, dungeness crab and smoked salmon, and heirloom tomato with buffalo mozzarella. The tea finishes off with a splendid array of tiny desserts. Make a reservation for the tea by calling 995-4688.

CRANBERRY FEST PROMISES FUN

On June 21, Yellow Point Cranberries will host its second annual cranberry blossom festival. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features an old-style farmers' and artisans' market. There will be tours to see blossoming cranberry plants and also hayrides around the 17.5-hectare farm. During the day local chefs will serve up cranberry-infused treats, and there will also be live music and child-friendly activities.

Admission is by donation to the Vancouver Island branch of the B.C. Cancer Foundation. Yellow Point Cranberries is just outside of Ladysmith. Take the Cedar Road exit off the Trans-Canada Highway and then turn right on Yellow Point Road.

For more information visit yellowpointcranberries.com

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008