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En Papillote - why parchment paper?

I learned about this technique last week and I'm hooked. It's so easy and the result was more than delicious. I just had a question on technique - I know that the technique in french means "in parchment" but is there a reason why it's specific to parchment paper? Does foil not work? Is it because of the weight of it or some other reason? Thanks and to many more dinners en papillote.

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  1. I have no actual idea but I would imagine that the foil would make it too hot... it holds in heat better than paper, whereas the paper just sort of keeps it moist.

    1. The technique pre-dates the invention of aluminum foil. Foil works but is more pedestrian than the "sophisticated" presentation of the puffed up parchment being cut open and folded back on your plate when served.

      4 Replies
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        I agree, the presentation alone was worth it. SO couldn't stop laughing at my joy not only in the quality of the preparation but just how gorgeous it is on the plate...call me crazy but it makes a lovely dish.

        1. re: weezieduzzit

          We cut right into the paper to serve, but any idea how long the food would stay hot? I imagine it might stay warm longer than if it weren't in the packet?

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I suppose it would but it would keep steaming the food a bit longer, too, so you'd have to be mindful of not overcooking.

            I'm a total geek for the presentation making me happy, too. The man had learned to make nice comments about it (he knows he'll get the evil eye if he doesn't.)

            1. re: weezieduzzit

              Yea, perhaps he could pass along the word to my SO especially when I insist that the plate be wiped before the photograph is taken :)

        2. I use foil when doing it on the grill, usually for a large serving of fish, when presentation isn't as critical. Salmon with sliced sweet onions, ginger, garlic and spinach is quite nice.

          However you can't beat those individual packets, especially when my folds comes out so neat and pretty, for a party!

          5 Replies
          1. re: foodieX2

            I agree, without even trying it, love salmon and my first try with this technique was red snapper with ginger, garlic and spinach so I'm sure it'd be just as delicious. Oh yea, I need to work on my folds although a stapler is always nearby :)

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              Yes, I have resorted to stapler while swearing at poor innocent chicken breasts nestled in their beds.

            2. re: foodieX2

              I would absolutely hand fold for a party but these cheaters are awesome for quick week night meals! I scooped up a bunch of them on clearance (the stores still carries them, not sure why they had them on clearance but no complaints from me.)

               
            3. I generally don't like my food to be cooked directly on foil. I worry that acid will eat away the foil just a bit, for example. If you really want to use foil, you can now by foil that is lined with parchment so you get the best of both materials.

              1. I don't like foil, I feel like it's less green.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jaykayen

                  Well, before parchment you could use banana leaves, lotus leaves, cabbage leaves, corn husks...

                  :-))

                  1. re: meatn3

                    Yes, this technique predates not just the invention of foil but the invention of paper.

                2. Foil reacts to acidic ingredients, such as lemon, tomato, white wine - all of which are great for en papillote preps

                  1. Martha wear is great the best of both worlds.

                    1. Parchment! I do not want aluminum to leach into my food!

                      1. Food does not stick to parchment paper unless you scorch it, find foil and food tend to stick. You can buy parchment paper bags here which are very convenient.