Chef and cookbook author Sara Moulton is always learning new kitchen techniques and loves to share them, which is one reason she published her new cookbook, "Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better" (Oxmoor House, 2016). A few tips from the book:
▪ For stress-free pizza dough prep, coat the work surface lightly with olive oil. The dough will stick to the surface and keep its width and breadth as you roll it out.
▪ Deveining shrimp can be done quickly via a two-step assembly-line process. First line peeled, raw shrimp on a cutting board, then make a cut down the back of each one. Then hold each shrimp under a slight stream of running tap water; the veins will slip out.
▪ When you have a lot of small tomatoes to cut, corral them between the plastic lids of two deli containers (six to eight at a time). Press the palm of one hand on top, then use a sharp chef's knife to make a horizontal slice through all the tomatoes at once.
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▪ Two reasons why fish “en papillote,” AKA fish in a bag, works so well: The juices of the fish mingle with the other components to create a light, flavorful sauce; and cooking odors are reduced and/or eliminated because the bag is sealed. The technique typically is used to cook individual portions, but it offers the flexibility to go big.
Salmon in a Bag With Citrus, Olives and Chiles
Adapted from “Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101.”
1 small orange, sliced very thin, plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice
1 small lemon, sliced very thin, plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice
4 (4- to 5-ounce) skinless center-cut salmon fillet pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup olives, preferably oil-cured, pitted and chopped
1 small serrano pepper, sliced thin crosswise, seeded if desired
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a large piece of parchment paper, 24 inches long and 13 inches wide, on a baking sheet. Bring the two long ends together and make a crease in the middle. Open the paper; put the right half of the parchment on top of the baking sheet (letting the left half hang off). Arrange half of the citrus slices on the parchment.
Season the salmon lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the rosemary on top of the citrus, then arrange the 4 pieces of salmon on top. Drizzle the citrus juices and oil over the fish, then evenly distribute the chopped olives and sliced serrano pepper. Top each fillet with the remaining rosemary and orange and lemon slices.
Bring the left half of the parchment up and over the salmon to completely cover it. Starting at the top left of the parchment package, make 1/4-inch folds all around the perimeter, pressing to crimp and seal, until you have completely encased the salmon.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. (Stick a knife through the parchment into the salmon. If it goes in easily, the fish is done.)
Cut open the parchment, knock off the citrus slices and transfer the salmon pieces to each of the 4 plates. Spoon some of the olives, pepper slices, rosemary and juices from the parchment over each piece.
Per serving: 250 calories, 23 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar
Yield: 4 servings.