Welcome to The Cooking Cardiologist Blog! I write about health, food and cooking from my perspective as a cardiologist (as you can imagine, there’s a lot to know). If you don’t see something you’re interested to know, please ask!
The French call it, en papillote – a technique of baking food encased in parchment paper. Unlike parchment paper used for writing (which is not actually made from paper), parchment paper sold for kitchen use is treated with sulfuric acid. The process creates a surface that is sleek, smooth and impervious to oil and moisture. It is also resistant to heat up to 425°F, according to PaperChef.com, a manufacturer of parchment products. In the final process, a silicone coating is added that creates a further non-stick surface.
With parchment cooking, food retains moisture. The steam collects inside the wrapper creating a closed steam bath. Food will cook faster and still can brown if the temperature is high enough, usually 400°F. My Salmon in a Pouch come out perfectly moist and delicious because the pouch keeps all the flavors and steam inside.
This technique is not new by any means. Cultures around the world have been wrapping foods in a number of ways using things like cornhusks, banana leaves, grape leaves and seaweed.
Years ago, people were using paper bags to steam peppers after roasting and paper bags were even used to oven-bake turkeys. Today, using non-culinary paper is not recommended as these products are often made from recycled materials. Use only food grade paper in your kitchen.
There are a variety of parchment cooking papers available from sheets to bags and muffin cup liners. A Martha Stewart© brand has aluminum foil bonded to the parchment paper creating a stronger, malleable paper.
Wax paper (which was invented by Thomas Edison) is not heat proof. While resistant to grease and moisture, the paraffin coating will melt if exposed to heat.
Other products of interest include cedar papers. While not truly paper, these cedar wraps are perfect to cook vegetables and seafood on the stovetop or grill. The red cedar is cut very thin to allow the “paper” to wrap around the food item. For information, check out Fire & Flavor.
Below are some other great websites you should visit for more information on cooking with paper: