Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.
Several years ago, baking in parchment became one of my favorite cooking methods, still it was good having the opportunity to expand upon it.. I wanted to try some new takes on the fabulous En Papillote. For instance, I realized from the given recipes that various oven temperatures and cooking times were possible. Previously I'd just stuck to a basic formula, with variations only in the ingredients, herbs, etc., on the theory that if it works, don't mess with it.
And, remember the butter is good for you. Everyone needs some healthy fat in their diet, to make sure all those fat soluble vitamins get utilized.
I still want to make the prosciutto wrapped asparagus, which was one of the recipes provided by our Daring Chefs hostess . I'll add the directions for it after the break, as it is a bit different, being slow-roasted. Our markets were out of asparagus, so my trial on that one may have to wait.
Slow Roasted Asparagus
Daring Cooks Challenge 7/12
As found in the New York Times by Melissa Clark, April 21, 2010 “The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook”
The recipe involved baking the asparagus in a parchment-paper packet on very low heat for around 90 minutes. During that time, the herb-scented steam gently softens and suffuses the stalks, unlike asparagus I’ve made in a steamer basket, which tends to cook unevenly.
Why was the parchment-steaming different? I called Ms. Wolfert to ask.
“I haven’t used an asparagus steamer in years,” she said. “Metal steamers get hotter, and that affects the way the asparagus cook.” The parchment insulates the asparagus, she said. It keeps the temperature steady and allows for even cooking. Also, the long, slow cooking time lets the vegetable absorb the flavor of the seasonings.
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 min. (active time: 15 min.)
*Note: No specific quantities are given – as a guide, use 1 bunch asparagus, enough oil to drizzle, ½ tsp. dried tarragon or 1 tsp. fresh tarragon, 3-4 slices prosciutto and a handful of your favorite mushrooms.
• Olive oil
1. Preheat oven to very slow 200°F/95°C/gas mark 1/8. Wash and trim the asparagus. Lay it on a square of parchment paper large enough to wrap and fold.
2. Drizzle with olive oil, lay on some dried or fresh tarragon. Drape with prosciutto and roughly chopped mushrooms.
3. Tightly fold the parchment paper into a bundle so no steam can escape and tie with string. I like using the sandwich fold. Bring the two long edges together and fold over and then continue to fold over until the seam is tight to the package. Turn each short end under and tie with string. You could also just staple all the edges closed to create the seal.
4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.