Salmon en papillotte with marjoram and arak


My friend Ralda is a very good cook. Last week while having dinner at her house, we ate a delicious salmon en  papillotte on a bed couscous flavoured with aromatic spices.   
This reminded of  years ago when  used to cook salmon with  julienne of vegetables and a dash of white wine, because I was then working full time and relied on easy and light dishes.
Year later I reinvented my old recipe and replaced white wine with Lebanese Arak and served the fish with puy lentils and broccoli sautéed with garlic and olive oil. I omitted the julienne of vegetables, added caper berries, marjoram, thyme, black pepper and salt flakes.  I wrapped the filet in parchment paper, tied the ends with string and baked it for 10 minutes and… Bob’s your uncle!

Arak is an aniseed flavoured drink distilled from white grapes. It is high in alcohol and turns white when diluted with water. Distilling arak remains to this day a event in the food and drink calendar. A good homemade drink is often more potent that a shop bought bottle. It is also often known as the ‘milk of lions’, in other words not a drink for the faint hearted! Arak has many other virtues such as cleaning crystal and anaesthetising a sore tooth…


Salmon en papillotte with marjoram and arak


6 salmon fillets
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
2 tablespoons Arak diluted in 4 tablespoons water
6 sprigs marjoram
6 sprigs thyme
Sea salt 
Freshly ground balck pepper
Caper berries



Preparation time: 
Serves 6
Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Cut 6 sheets of baking parchment each measuring approximately 30x20 cm.
  3. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
  4. Place a sprig of marjoram and a sprig of thyme on each paper and arrange the filets and capers on top. 
  5. Mix Arak with the water and garlic paste.  
  6. Drizzle the fish with the arak mix and olive oil.
  7. Wrap the baking sheet over the salmon, covering it entirely. Twist both end, and tie with kitchen string.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12minutes and serve.


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