Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lemon Ginger Shrimp in Parchment Paper

US wild jumbo shrimp frolicked in my dreams last night. Oh yes, not only in costume but performing silly dances and unbelievable acrobatic feats. Better than a nightmare, this exhibition just might have been inspired by a package of Gulf shrimp that should have been last night's dinner. But the cook was lazy, reheated some spicy soup, and went to bed quite early. Hmmm, maybe I should blame the evening's entertainment on that spicy soup. Today those frisky crustaceans shared the spotlight with some Asian flavors and starred in Shrimp en Papillote... aka Lemon Ginger Shrimp in Parchment Paper.

Local groceries and big box stores offer frozen shrimp sourced from a variety of countries, but I know very little about these other fisheries. Lacking specific knowledge of or confidence in foreign catch and processing methods, I choose US wild seafood, especially Pacific Northwest products, whenever possible. Lucky for me, Seattle holds several quality fish markets with impeccable fresh and frozen seafood. I have previously used this simple method with fish fillets, but admittedly not often. Surprising, since the results were so popular. 

Sturgeon in Parchment

Why not cook shrimp en papillote? Somehow other favorite shrimp and prawn dishes tend to muscle parchment pouchs out of the limelight.

No more understudy role for shrimp in parchment; this dish is ready for star billing.    

Shrimp en Papillote

for 2 servings

1/2 cup Napa cabbage, julienned (or substitute baby bok choy)
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup green or white onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup carrots, julienned
2" fresh ginger, peeled & cut into 8 coins
10-12 wild jumbo shrimp (size 16-20/lb), shelled & cleaned
salt and white pepper
1/2 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
2 TBS mirin
2 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS ponzu sauce (or use lemon or lime juice plus soy sauce)
2 pieces of parchment paper, roughly 15"x24"

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Set out a baking sheet, ready to transfer the parchment packets to the oven. Fold each parchment sheet in half (now 15x12) and cut a large, fat heart shape.

Spread half of the cabbage shreds on one open sheet of heart-shaped parchment close to the fold line. Spread it out, but leave an inch or two bare along the cut outside edge. Top with half of the rice, onion, carrots and coins of ginger. Add half of the shrimp on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange half of the lemon rounds over the shrimp. Sprinkle with half of the mirin, sesame oil and ponzu sauce. (Short version: layer half of the ingredients on the paper and sprinkle half of the liquids evenly over the top.)

Fold the other half of the heart over the top, lining up the edges. Begin with the top of the heart (the fat part) at the fold; fold over a short section, pleat and pinch together, press down to seal and repeat the fold/pleat/pinch/press as you work around the edge to the bottom point. Twist the final section to seal and tuck under the pouch to secure it. 

Repeat with the remaining ingredients to create a second packet.

Move the packets onto a baking sheet and place in the center of the preheated oven. Reduce the oven temp to 400 F and bake for 15 minutes (only 10-12 minutes for smaller shrimp). The packets should puff slightly as they cook. (I suggest opening one packet a few minutes early to check for doneness - you don't ever want to overcook shrimp!

To serve, transfer each packet to a dinner plate; use kitchen shears to cut an X on top to fold open. The aroma is tantalizing. Serve with lemon slices and/or Sweet Thai Chile Sauce to drizzle over the packet contents if you like. (I prefer mine plain.


  1. I really enjoy eating seafood wrapped in parchment paper but I have never tried shrimp. Thank you for this recipe, i hope to make it soon.

    1. I think you will enjoy shrimp in parchment, Gerlinde. I'll be interested in your flavoring approach


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