Coho Salmon, Orzo, Pesto, and Lemon en Papillote

close up salmon

I typically select films to pair with food, but yesterday I was inspired to do something different. I asked a Facebook fan what her favourite movie is and she responded with a hip little French film (see below) So, Tere Jensen, this Papillote is for you!

French for “parchment” is a method of cooking in which the food is placed into a folded parcel, then baked. The parcel retains moisture and steams the food which also locks in the flavour. I chose line-caught Coho with a garlicky pesto for this particular papillote.

Coho Salmon, Orzo, and Lemon Pesto en Papillote
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 8 ounces fresh basil
  • ½ pound orzo
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound Coho salmon fillet, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 4 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 lemon, sliced very thin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Boil the pasta, until al dente, according to the package. Drain, and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, place the basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until garlic is finely minced. Place the pine nuts into the food processor and pulse once or twice to keep them coarse. Incorporate the pesto into the orzo. Stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and set aside.
  3. Arrange 4 12 x 12 sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. In the center of each sheet, place a half cup of the orzo and top with a salmon piece. Pour 1 tablespoon of white wine over each fillet. Salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the lemon in a single layer on top of the fish. Top each serving with the remaining pesto. Bring two opposite sides of the parchment up over the arrangement. Fold under to seal.
  4. Arrange the packages on a baking sheet and bake for 16 minutes, until they are slightly puffy. Transfer to plates. Voila!
Open the parcels carefully to release steam. Serve with naked vegetables. I offered steamed carrots and asparagus.

I paired this recipe with an easy to pair, but difficult to find bottle of Cabernet Franc. The Rancho Sisquoc Cab Franc is particularly enjoyable. This French varietal is lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes it easy on the eyes. A bright pale red wine, it offers peppery perfume with notes of cassis and violets on the finish. A lovely classic.
Movie Night suggestion: Bonjour tristesse. A 1958 film about a young girl (Jean Seberg) who lives with her rich playboy dad, played by David Niven. When his old flame (Deborah Kerr – bombshell extraordinaire), comes to the villa, Cecile is afraid for her way of life.

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