Fishless Adaptation
April 16, 2018 6:13 PM   Subscribe

My family's favorite recipe is this salmon en papillote, and I make it as often as salmon's on sale. The problem is, I hate fish. This smells pretty good, but after months and months of trying, I can only manage to eat about four bites. Could I put in a half chicken breast and have it work out about the same?

I'd take out the dill and capers and put in dried rosemary for the chicken breast, but otherwise keep it the same. I think I'd want to use a half-breast? Do you think the timing would work out about the same, so I could make salmon for everyone else but chicken for me? Do you have other ideas for me?

Also, bonus question, how do I mark one parchment package as being different from all the others, so I know that one has the chicken?
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I like fish ok but not salmon. Way too fishy. Could you try a much milder fish (if you cant get the poultry to work)?
posted by beccaj at 6:18 PM on April 16, 2018

I can vouch for this chicken en papillote recipe. I think you could easily change up the spices and veg to match your salmon. The trick is slicing the chicken breast on the bias to allow for even cooking. 20-25min at 375F will do it, depending on your oven; since the temp is lower for your salmon, you might just try leaving the chicken in for five extra minutes or so to compensate. As for marking, pencil on the outside should be safe enough.
posted by halation at 6:23 PM on April 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

When I'm trying to alter a recipe like this I'll compare similar recipes. So in this case you might look at chicken en papillote recipes and see if they cut or adjust the chicken, what temp it's cooked at and for how long. That should give you an idea of any adjustments you might need to make the chicken cook nicely alongside the salmon. It sounds delicious :)

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I'd maybe add a twist or something to the parchment, or leave a sprig of rosemary sticking out of the top.
posted by bunderful at 6:28 PM on April 16, 2018

There are lots of recipes for chicken en papillote so you could either look into a bunch of those and compare instructions, see the differences and see what would need to change, or you could just do a few test meals. I think though that if you butterflied a chicken breast so that it was thinner, and thus cooked faster, it should work totally fine with the recipe as-is. I might add a little extra fat somewhere, because compared to chicken breast, salmon is fattier. But I'd honestly keep the dill and capers, it'll taste yummy that way too, kind of like chicken piccata.

To mark your package as different from the others, you could just mark it with a pencil. Or if using foil, take a thin strip of foil and tuck it around yours on the baking tray.
posted by Mizu at 6:29 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

sub out yellow fin tuna, striped bass, or swordfish. I'm with you about salmon, i like ocean in general but not salmon.
posted by vrakatar at 6:31 PM on April 16, 2018

I would check a chicken en papillote recipe (or four, and then take the average) for time and temp and to see if they want you to pound it thin. I would leave all the seasonings the same the first time and mess with it later to taste.

But yes, that's absolutely a thing and you'll likely be fine.

You're fine using pencil on the paper, or twist it differently, or just put it on the top right corner and remember that one's yours.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:59 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

how do I mark one parchment package as being different from all the others

We write our initials on it with a Sharpie. It doesn't seem to bleed through parchment paper.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:07 PM on April 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

When marking the package - I find Sharpie markers have a strong smell that gets into the food (like I can't drink from a cup with my initials Sharpie'd onto it). Pencil would work too, and be much less noxious.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:53 PM on April 16, 2018

To make your life as simple as possible, I would literally only sub one thing: the salmon. Put a boneless, skinless chicken breast in your packet and you're good to go. I think the rest of the ingredients would go perfectly well with chicken because the best thing about chicken is that it's pretty much a blank slate. You can butterfly the breast or pound it thinner and you won't have to cook it much longer than the salmon. Don't be afraid to cut into the breast to see if it's done!

In the professional kitchens I worked in, writing on parchment with pencil was the way to go.
posted by cooker girl at 6:44 AM on April 17, 2018

Are you using wild-caught salmon? I ask, because I cannot tolerate farm-raised salmon - the flavor is awful, IMO. (BTW, in the US, all "Atlantic" salmon is farm-raised) Also, are you leaving the skin on? Skin on *can* change the flavor of salmon - in a disagreeable way for some folks. When we grill salmon (always skin-on), we use fennel fronds under the skin and it seems to take away that extra 'fishiness' that sometimes creeps in.
Lastly, with any fish, make sure you are getting the freshest you possibly can; 'previously frozen' in a store can be okay - it often means the fish was flash-frozen when caught, which, if you can't buy it off the boat, the day it was caught, is the next best. Hope this helps.
posted by dbmcd at 11:09 AM on April 17, 2018

Final update from the OP:
And the OP is me so I don't know that I need this blockquote, but here it is.

So, basically subbing the chicken for the fish and changing dill + capers for rosemary worked great, EXCEPT the smell of everyone else's fish was so overpowering I couldn't eat my chicken! I have also tried with other fish, but, yeah, no, I just can't tolerate the smell of ANY fish and can't eat my chicken when I can smell their fish. Oh well!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:34 PM on September 2, 2019

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