Many upscale Italian restaurants impress their guests with fish cooked al cartoccio, or steamed in parchment paper or aluminum foil. You can, too. This technique is both functional and tasteful, because wrapping the ingredients seals in the juices and putting this dish together is effortless, yet the result is elegant. Let the drama unfold!
2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup diced shallots
3 tablespoons white balsamic or rice wine vinegar
12 large cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Grinding black pepper
4 ounces black ink or plain spaghetti, broken in half
4 salmon steaks, each weighing between 6 to 8 ounces
4 large sheets parchment paper or aluminum foil
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan with the butter. Stir in the onion and shallots and cook them over medium heat until they begin to soften. Pour in the vinegar, raise the heat and allow most of it to evaporate. Stir in the tomatoes and cook them until they begin to soften. Off the heat stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
Fill a two-quart pot with 6 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and stir in the spaghetti. Bring the water back to the boil and cook the spaghetti until it is al dente. Drain and return it to the pot and stir in the sauce. Keep covered and warm.
With a small knife cut away the skin around each salmon steak and remove the center bone. Use a tweezers or needle-nose pliers to remove any pin bones still lodged in the salmon. Rub each salmon piece gently with sea salt and black pepper.
Wrap the two separated pieces of salmon around each other to form a medallion. Hold the medallion together with toothpicks if you wish. Set the medallions aside.
Fold each sheet of parchment paper in half lengthwise and use a scissors to cut around the outside edges to create a rounded shape. Open up the parchment and on each sheet place 1/4 of the spaghetti in a mound in the center of the paper. Place a salmon medallion on top of the spaghetti. Drizzle each medallion with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Fold the other half of the parchment over the salmon and crimp the edges together to enclose the ingredients.
Place the parchment packages on a rimmed baking sheet. Make a small slit in each package to allow steam to escape. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the packets from the oven; open them carefully, then slide the spaghetti with the medallion onto each individual dinner plate.
To use foil, simply follow the above procedure, but cook at 375F.
Featured on show 1614 - By the Seaside.
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