Chicken En Papillote With Basil and Cherry Tomatoes
Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL: http://www.fureyandthefeast.com/2009/02/en-papillote/
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Cynthia Furey
I know we’re truly in the thick of winter when I bust out the papillote recipes left and right. The season and the dish remind me of each other: both bursting with warmth and comfort on the inside, like what I would imagine a family home with central heating and a fireplace would feel like. Since my apartment doesn’t have either of those, I cook en papillote to give me that same feeling of perceived warmth, and for the most part, it’s achieved, albeit on a much smaller scale. My toes are still frozen and I’m a blanket mummy, but my stomach is a happy camper, as warm as can be.
Papillote is a one-shot dish in which you place raw ingredients on a sheet of parchment paper, wrap them up like a parcel and cook the whole thing in the oven. The parchment essentially steams everything into a vibrantly flavored meal, trapping in all the aromas and juices that would have otherwise escaped in baking or sauteeing.
And perhaps what I love most about the cooking method is that it’s almost wrong how good the dish is, considering that it doesn’t adhere to the age-old notion of “the tougher the job, the greater the reward.” It’s quite the opposite — the result is exponentially greater than the minimal effort going into it. Conclusion? George Allen has probably never had the pleasure of cooking en papillote.
Cook’s note: In both recipes, the chicken can be substituted for any white fish, like halibut or tilapia. If using fish, note that it will be done at 140 to 145 degrees. I recommend testing with a thermometer to be sure.