Parchment Baked Salmon with Ayurvedic Spices

Parchment Baked Salmon
Healthy and aromatic, parchment baked salmon

The pungent mixture of curative spices, served as delectable fine dining.

Throughout history, many herbalists, doctors, and chefs have touted the health benefits of spices in the kitchen. Nearly every individual spice and herb we carry has at some point been used as a holistic remedy. Cultures the world over have long turned to the healing properties of spices to ease pains, fight deseases, and slow aging. Even now, every few months we hear about a new study proving the long known health benefits of a particular spice. Here, at the Spice House, we are far from doctors or herbalist healers, we are but humble spice merchants. It is from this perspective that I've noticed that there is one thing that isn't always mentioned in these modern medical studies of spices or holistic herbalist books. Cooking with spices isn't just healthy, it is also delicious.

This recipe starts with a healthy french cooking technique known as “en papillote”. Simply translated as “in packets”, “en papillote” is the time tested use of parchment paper envelopes to steam proteins while baking. This technique works especially well for preparing fish, the moisture trapped in the packets produces tender aromatic fish fillets without the threat of overcooking. The real joy of this technique is when you get to open the packets at the table, the vaporous rush of the parchment's contained essence greats the lucky diner with a fragrant waft of the meal to come.

Cooking in parchment is easy, here I've drawn up a handy guide to show how to cut and fold the paper into tasty fish envelopes.

Cooking “en papillote” may be french in tradition, although this recipe packs an extra layer of tasty indian Ayurvedic spices. The use of Ayurvedic spices for a healthy life style has been all the rage lately, even Doctor Oz has toted their health benefits. Many of these spices have been shown through studies to aid in weight loss, preventing signs of aging, and even shown to prevent cancer. I'm all for preventing cancer or slimming one's waistline, but frankly I just like a meal to taste good. That's the best part about cooking with these spices though, no longer does health food have to be thought of as bland medicine but rather as filling savory dishes that are fit for the finest of restaurants or even a romantic homemade dinner for two.

I've singled out a few spices in this recipe that offer a maximum amount of flavor, along with all the curative powers they have to offer. The combination of oniony asafoetida powder, sweet ground fenugreek seeds, and a dash of musky golden turmeric serve as a healthful and simple robust potato and onion masala for the salmon to steam on. A dash of fines herbs and some slices of lemon atop the salmon filets is all that is needed to finish off this fantastic recipe. Enjoy!

Parchment Baked Salmon with Ayurvedic Spices (serves 2)


  • two single portion fresh salmon filets
  • one sweet onion
  • six to eight medium red skin potatoes
  • two to three medium fresh peeled carrots
  • one lemon
  • dry chardonay
  • two teaspoons asafoetida powder
  • two teaspoons ground fenugreek seeds
  • one teaspoon ground turmeric
  • one teaspoon fines herbs
  • coconut oil
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Fresh ground white pepper to taste (black pepper may be substituted)
Cut out two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper and set aside. Roughly chop potatoes, onions, and carrots. Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a saute pan under medium heat, stir in asafoetida powder, ground fenugreek, and turmeric. Saute onions, potatoes, and carrots with the spices until slightly softened but still crisp in the center. Evenly layer portions of the vegetable mixture in each of the parchment hearts, followed by the salmon filets, salt and pepper, a few slices of lemon, and then the fines herbs. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Fold parchment closed as previously shown, leaving a small spout open at the end of each parchment heart. Pour approximately a quarter cup of dry chardonnay into each of the parchment hearts and then fold completely shut. Place onto a baking sheet and into the oven. Bake for 18 minutes. Serve immediately, allowing guests to open the parchment. Enjoy!

Drink Spice

During the holidays it is always nice to have new refreshments to share with your guests. We’ve mixed up three delicious cocktail recipes worthy of holiday cheer. Prior to my love of spices, I worked…

Crisp Air and Warm Apple Pie

Here in Milwaukee, we have said farewell to the end of summer festivities and are now feeling the onset of that crisp and cozy time of Autumn – a welcome relief from the heat and…


    Wonderful recipe. I am going to have to try some Asafoetida powder next time I place an order.

    As a fishmonger, may I suggest some other options other than salmon? Arctic char would be delicious – more delicate than salmon but very rich and buttery. Sablefish (aka black cod) would be decadent. For a slightly leaner option, try striped bass or barramundi (an Asian seabass now being raised in Australia). If you like freshwater fish, sturgeon or catfish would sing when complemented by these delicious spices.

    Wow! Cool recipe.
    Dumb question – when I fold the parchment in small scallops am I supposed to tear the paper at the edge of the scallop?

    No need to tear until it is done cooking. Simply fold the paper overlapping the previous fold. The final fold can be twisted and torn off or rolled into itself. here’s a handy video from the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts that might better demonstrate this technique:

    Thanks for the suggestions Kari! Another favorite of mine is whole Lake Trout, fresh from Lake Superior, although I know that fish with the head still on isn’t for everyone. I’ll have to try this with Sablefish, that sounds fabulous!

Comments are closed.