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Baked Salmon en Papillote with Blood Orange and Fennel

Baking salmon en papillote renders tender and flaky fillets every time. Kick it up a few notches with refreshing blood oranges, fennel, and toasted hazelnuts.


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Uncooked salmon on parchment paper topped with a colorful salad of blood oranges and fennel.

A quality fillet of salmon allows for endless creativity. Though being creative sounds a bit burdensome for a weeknight meal, this recipe promises a delicious out-of-the-ordinary result in less than thirty! Replace the usual lemon and dill from your fish en papillote with blood oranges and fennel, and you’ve got yourself a refreshing seasonal variant.

What does “En Papillote” mean?

Parchment packets tied up with butcher's twine on a baking sheet with asparagus.

En papillote is a method of cooking where meat, usually fish, is placed into a folded parcel of parchment or foil and baked. The idea is to trap moisture in as the fish cooks to let it steam and soak up the flavors of any other ingredients you add. Fish en papillote is intended to be served in its parcel so that, when opened at the table, people can take in the aroma as it escapes. It all sounds so frilly! But en papillote is totally laid back. I’ve tried several approaches to folding and sealing fish in parchment—from complex crimps to lazy twists and ties—and it always yielded the same result: moist and flavorful fish. In my mind, it doesn’t matter how you pack it. As long as your parchment paper is tucked and folded in a way that prevents steam from escaping, you’re golden. Here’s a helpful breakdown on how I typically prepare my fish en papillote.

Blood orange and fennel: a winning pair.

Cutting board with ingredients sprawled over it: crushed hazelnuts, a sliced blood orange, a shallot, and a fennel bulb.

The blood orange and fennel medley served over these fillets lets us enjoy the last bit of these winter gems before we step into spring. If you’ve never tasted a blood orange, just imagine a super juicy and sweet orange with a hint of raspberry. They’re fantastic! And then we have fennel: faintly sweet, crisp, and refreshing. Though it’s notorious for its anise-like flavor, it doesn’t taste like black licorice outright. It’s pretty tame. Blood oranges and fennel can be seen together in salads a lot this time of year. Which is exactly what inspired this combination. With the toasted crushed hazelnuts on top, this is a meal you will covet.

If you’re wondering what to serve with this salmon, you can roast some asparagus along with it. A simple side salad is also great, and I’d never turn down some of these crispy smashed potatoes.

Salmon from Blue Circle Foods: healthy and sustainable!

A sealed package of Blue Circle Foods Atlantic Salmon fillets.

Two bright orange fillets of salmon seasoned with salt and pepper on a cutting board.

Salmon is one of the healthiest fish you can add to your plate. It boasts omega-3 fatty acids (brain food!), antioxidants, and it’s a great source of protein. One of my favorite things about Blue Circle Foods salmon in particular is that they’re transparent about where their fish is coming from: family farmers in Norway. These farmers raise their fish in pure Arctic waters without pesticides, growth hormones, or antibiotics and if you eat a ton of salmon like I do, you can taste the difference. The salmon is also free of synthetic pigments, gluten, GMOs, and sugar, so you can fill up and feel good! But the benefits of mowing down Blue Circle Foods’ fillets doesn’t stop at your health. It’s also healthy for the planet. The family farmers they work with are dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans through sustainable aquaculture. The salmon is certified sustainable by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

This is all really good news, because you’re going to want to eat a lot of this salmon. My freezer is currently full and I have SO MANY IDEAS.

A fillet of salmon set in parchment paper with blood oranges and fennel on top.

Plate of asparagus topped with salmon, fennel, blood oranges, and hazelnuts.

Other salmon recipes I love:

Hope you love it!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme

Plate of asparagus topped with salmon, fennel, blood oranges, and hazelnuts.
Print Pin
5 from 4 votes

Baked Salmon en Papillote with Blood Orange and Fennel

Baking salmon en papillote renders tender and flaky fillets every time. Kick it up a few notches with refreshing blood oranges, fennel, and toasted hazelnuts.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Healthy, Pescetarian, Seafood, seasonal
Keyword blood oranges, fennel, fish, healthy, Salmon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

  • 2 5 oz fillets of Blue Circle Foods Atlantic Salmon
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel (about 1/2 of a bulb) I recommend slicing it with a mandolin on this first and thinnest setting.
  • 2 blood oranges
  • Zest of one blood orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 of a large shallot, or one small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBSP dry white wine
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • fennel fronds, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425º F.
  • Take the salmon out of the refrigerator, take the fillets out of their packages, and place them onto a plate or cutting board. Blot the fillets with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let them sit for about 15 minutes to let them come close to room temperature. This will ensure an even cook. In the meantime, prep your other ingredients.

Blood orange and fennel medley.

  • Place the thinly sliced fennel into a mixing bowl. Over that bowl, zest one of the blood oranges, letting the zest fall over the fennel; set that blood orange aside. Take the other blood orange, and cut it into supremes (*see notes). Add the supremes into the bowl with the fennel, squeezing the juice from the leftover core over the fennel and oranges (there should still be a decent amount of juice left in that core!)
  • Add the shallots to the medley. Drizzle in the olive oil and top with some fennel fronds. With your hands, gently toss the ingredients to evenly coat with the olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and set it aside.

Salmon en papillote.

  • Cut 1/2 of the zested blood orange and 1/2 of the lemon into thin slices. Place a few slices of each onto the middle of each segment of parchment paper.
  • Place the salmon fillets on top of the citrus slices and top each of them with the blood orange and fennel medley. With the other halves of the blood orange and the lemon, squeeze a bit of juice over each fillet, then splash a little dry white wine over each fillet.
  • Once everything is in place, take one of the sides of your parchment and fold it over the fish. After that, grab the other side, and fold it over, enclosing the fish. Twist the ends of the parchment one at a time, securing each end by tying butchers twine around it. (Or, you can fold the ends underneath the fillets instead of twisting them, and secure the packets with butchers twine in the middle, as pictured in the blog post. It truly doesn't matter how you fold it or tie it, as long as it's secure so no steam escapes.)
  • Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the fillets reach an internal temperature of 145º F, are opaque, and flake easily with a fork.
  • When done, you can serve these in their packets or unpack them and transfer the fillets, along with the blood orange and fennel medley, to a plate.
  • Top with fennel fronds and toasted hazelnuts (*see notes)

Notes

*How to cut orange supremes
  1. Slice off both ends of the orange. Place the orange with one cute end down on the cutting board to stabilize it.
  2. With a paring knife (or the smallest sharp knife you've got), carefully slice along the curve of the orange to remove the peel and the pith (the white part between the peel and the fruit). Once the peel is off, trim off any remaining white bits.
  3. Hold the peeled orange in one hand and, using your paring knife, cut along the membranes (the core of the orange) to free each segment. (The segments are supremes!) Do this until you've sliced each segment free. (It's easiest to do it over a bowl and let the slices fall into it.) Carefully remove any seeds with your paring knife.
*Toasting hazelnuts
Place the roughly chopped hazelnuts into a dry pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat to get the pan hot. Once the pan is hot, bring the heat down to medium. Let the nuts toast for about 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan often, to prevent burning. The nuts will be slightly golden and very aromatic when they're ready.

4 Comments

  • Debra
    March 19, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    5 stars
    I totally stocked up on this salmon before we bunkered down here. This looks right up our alley too. We love love love blood oranges and I have an abundance. Have never paired the two though. Great idea

    Reply
  • Jenni LeBaron
    March 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    5 stars
    I am always on board for salmon! This recipe looks absolutely delicious, bursting with flavor and jam-packed with color and texture. This one absolutely needs to go on the menu while blood oranges are in season!

    Reply
  • Sean@Diversivore
    March 17, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    5 stars
    Dana. Buddy. You’re killing it with this one. I make so much salmon, and I’m always trying to think of something new and different, and I’m in love with the flavour combination here – not to mention the ease of preparation! Gotta love en papillote cooking. I adore orange and fennel in general, but blood oranges have that added benefit of bringing beautiful colour plus that berry-like anthocyanin hit. It’s as tasty as it is gorgeous. Nicely done.

    Reply
  • Gloria
    March 11, 2020 at 8:59 am

    5 stars
    Blood oranges are my favourite. This is such a great dish to entertain with. Presentation perfect. Each guest gets their own little package of goodness.

    Reply

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