Wild Salmon, Orzo & Arugula Pesto en Papillote

salmon orzo arugula pesto en papillote

You’re looking for something impressive – yet simple; healthy – but full of flavor. This Wild Salmon, Orzo & Arugula Pesto en Papillote from Food & Wine magazine┬ájust might become your new go-to entree.

“En Papillote” simply means “in parchment.” Cooking your entire meal inside a parchment “pocket” is a brilliant idea. The flavors meld together beautifully, the fish doesn’t dry out, and cleanup … well there is none!

I’ll admit, up until recently, I hadn’t really embraced arugula, let alone been able to pronounce it. Now, I top my favorite pizza with it, and use it in sandwiches and salads to add a peppery kick. And, I’m predicting that this pesto will make as many appearances in my kitchen as the basil version!

I’ve made this a few times now, and like it more each time. You could substitute the salmon with halibut or another fish, or use couscous or quinoa instead of the orzo. {In this recipe, I used a whole-wheat orzo.}

Wild Salmon, Orzo & Arugula Pesto en Papillote
  • Salt
  • 10 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • ½ medium shallot, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Six 6-ounce, skinless, center-cut wild salmon fillets
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Fill a bowl with ice water and bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the arugula to the boiling water and stir until just wilted, 20 seconds. Transfer to the ice water to cool; drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer the arugula to a food processor.
  2. Boil the orzo, stirring, until almost al dente, 9 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add the cheese, garlic, lemon zest, vinegar, shallot, Tabasco and sugar to the arugula and pulse to chop. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Season with salt. Add the pesto to the orzo and toss.
  4. Arrange six 16-by-12½-inch sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. In the center of each sheet, mound 1 heaping cup of the orzo and top with a salmon fillet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of wine over each fillet. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon in a single layer on the fish. Bring up 2 opposite sides of the parchment over the fish and orzo and fold to seal.
  5. Arrange the papillotes on a baking sheet, leaving space between them. Bake for 18 minutes, until the packets are slightly puffed. Transfer to plates, open the packets carefully to release steam and serve.

salmon orzo arugula pesto en papillote

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