Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shrimp en papillote

My first job in New Orleans was at Mr B's, In the French Quarter. One day I came in to work my shift on the back line, and Chef told me that there was a new dish coming off my station, Gulf fish "en papillote". I thought,"cool", I had learned to make them in Culinary School. No problem, but then I realized I had to make at least 60 of them before the start of service.

Lets just say that I got to be real good at them!

Last night we had our dear friends over with their son, our godson, and I thought that Kobe might get a kick out of cooking his dinner in a bag. And I was right, he thought it was the coolest thing. So cool that he ate shrimp that was not fried for the first time with no complaints.

The most time consuming part of this dish is getting the compound butter made.

Compound butter:

1/2 (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are incorporated completely. Roll the compound butter into a log and place in the refrigerator. Let harden to a solid log. (or it can be placed in the freezer for future use.)


6 oz pasta per person
I used angel hair pasta, but you can use any pasta you like

Boil pasta until JUST "al dente" so that it still has a bite to it. This is important because the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.

Blanch the pasta in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well, toss with olive oil to keep it from sticking, and set aside.

"Mis en place"

This is important when making papillote. It simply means "everything in it's place."
For this dish you need to have the following items set up and ready to go.

parchment paper - cut into a heart shape. If you don't have access to large parchment you can use two pieces for each portion.

Cooked cooled pasta

Compound butter - cut into 2 oz logs

Shrimp - peeled and devained. I like to leave the tail on. 6 to 8 per person

Melted butter- this is to coat the paper with so that it seals the bag and holds in the steam.

Salt and Pepper

First step is to brush the melted butter over the parchment paper. (As Kobe does with complete concentration)

Next you layer the ingredients on one side of the parchment. First I laid the pasta down, then the shrimp, topped it off with two pieces of the compound butter, salt and pepper.

The next step is to fold the ends of the parchment so that it makes a pocket around the food. Just fold a little as a time, making sure that it is completely sealed.

Place on a sheet pan. From this point you can place them in the refrigerator to hold until you are ready to cook them or you can put them directly in the oven.

Bake them for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

When you pull them out of the oven they will be puffed up from the steam inside. Now you just need to put them on a plate, cut the top oven and enjoy!

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