Dinner in parchment, en papillote, should be a default meal, although I rarely see it on a restaurant menu and seldom use the technique at home. And so it was last night as I [can I say] scurried to meet my friend, Karen, for dinner in Cincinnati directly from a drive back from Chicago. I missed the bulls-eye by about 20 min, dodging the Chicago traffic bullet, not having quite as much success in Cincinnati.
Wildflower Café. It’s good to see a start-up, in fact a family restaurant dedicated to local ingredients and sustainability do well. I posted two years ago, nearly to the day, about Wildflower Cafe’s commitment to supporting a local food economy, and it appears that support for the concept and the fare has accelerated. Since then, seating has increased into the finished porch area, and Wildflower was awarded a Best of the City destination by Cincinnati Magazine and mention in Best Chefs America, a Chef’s Guide to Chefs. Good for them. Good for us.
Spring Chicken, en papillote, was the order of the day. A simple, lovely Ohio Amish chicken breast with beautiful green beans, sweet potatoes and squash steamed in paper with the Wildflower’s pesto, lemon and herbs.
The possibilities for papillote are endless. The preparation is most commonly associated with fish such as black bass as the protein, and many varieties of fish are luxurious when steamed. The moisture produced may come directly from the food, or liquid such as wine or stock may be added. The food truly cooks in its own juice. Aluminum foil may be used as an alternative to parchment, the interior with a light wash of olive oil. Packets can also be cooked in a sauté pan on the stove top instead of in the oven.
Cooking en papillote is a simple technique worth mastering. Food prepared this way is simple, elegant, highly nutritious and limitless in possibility.
Wildflower Café & Coffee House, 207 Main St, Mason, OH 45040, 513.492.7514