Wild Salmon in Parchment

Course Main Dish, Seafood
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • 2/3 cup large-grain Israeli couscous also called pearl couscous
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons + 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves or snipped chives
  • ¾ pound sockeye salmon or other wild Pacific salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 black oil-cured olives or other Mediterranean olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers preferably salt cured, rinsed well
  • 1 Peppadew pepper cut in slivers (optional)*


  1. Combine 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the couscous and simmer, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Cool until warm (the couscous should absorb all the liquid). Gently mix with a drizzle of olive oil, just enough to keep it from sticking, and 2 teaspoons of the dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500°F.  Remove the salmon skin by pushing a sharp knife between the skin and the flesh. Cut in two portions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut ½ of the lemon in thin slices; squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon half.
  3. Tear off two pieces of parchment paper, each one 18 inches x 13 inches. Draw a large heart on each one with a pencil and cut it out.**
  4. Open one of the hearts and lay it on a baking sheet. Spoon half of the couscous on the right half. Top with a salmon filet. Drizzle with olive oil and half of the lemon juice. Lay half of the lemon slices down the middle. Scatter half of the remaining 2 teaspoons dill, olives, capers and Peppadew pepper (if using) on top. Fold over the left side of the heart and fold/crimp along the edges to close it. Repeat with the remaining heart and ingredients.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes. Serve on dinner plates, allowing the packets to rest for 5 minutes or more (delicious even at room temperature). Open the packets at the table and slide the contents onto plates.

Recipe Notes

* A round red pepper that is piquant in flavor--often found on olive bars. * *Alternatively, tear off an 18-inch piece of heavy aluminum foil. With the shiny side down, layer the couscous, salmon fillets and other ingredients as described above. Draw together the long edges of foil and fold over, crimping to prevent leakage but leaving room inside for heat circulation.