Who couldn’t use a savvy, sophisticated, assemble ahead of time, eat-your-veggies strategy? Simply tuck veggies in parchment paper along with a slice of lemon, set aside until you’re a few minutes away from dinner, and then casually slip them into the oven to cook untended. All that’s left is to watch as the packages are unwrapped at the table to a chorus of oohs and aahs. Suddenly those green beans or asparagus spears aren’t so humdrum, huh? Sorta like Cracker Jack, given the surprise that awaits. A stash of unbleached parchment paper, preferably white rather than brown, ensures the parcels portray a pretty aesthetic.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Fancy It Up Note
These parchment parcels function not just as a rote recipe but as a bendable blueprint. Follow your fancy and…
• Vary the vegetables, adding baby bok choy or sugar snaps or bean sprouts or thinly sliced carrots or whole scallions or, well, you get the idea.
• Slip in other aromatics in place of lemon, such as herbs, lemongrass, or a slice of ginger.
• Swap olive oil for a splash of white wine or sake, or maybe even a splash of soy sauce and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
• Strew the vegetables with other flavorings, like chopped olives or sesame seeds.
• Turn it from an easy-clean-up side to a no-clean-up meal by adding a fish fillet and maybe some thinly sliced potatoes. (Allow up to 30 minutes or so for cooking.)
Steamed Veggies in Parchment Parcels Recipe
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes | Serves 4
- 1/2 to 1 lemon, very thinly sliced into 8 rounds
- 5 to 8 ounces green beans, ends snapped off if desired
- 12 to 16 spears asparagus, ends snapped off (preferably spears that are slightly thicker than the green beans)
- 1 tablespoon or so olive oil
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- 2. Cut four 12-inch squares of parchment paper (for a pretty effect) or aluminum foil (for a practical approach, if that’s all you happen to have on hand). Divide the lemon slices among the squares of parchment, placing 2 slices in the center of each square. Top the lemon slices with the green beans and asparagus, divvying them evenly among the squares. Drizzle the veggies with a little oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
- 3. Working with 1 square at a time, bring 2 opposite edges of the parchment paper together so they meet in the center above the vegetables. Fold the edges over several times and crease them to seal. Bring the remaining sides of the parchment over the center and repeat, folding each over itself several times and creasing to seal. Place the parchment parcels on a rimmed baking sheet.
- 4. Roast the parchment parcels until the vegetables are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (There are several ways to tell if the veggies are done. You can guess. You can try to prod the vegetables through the parchment. Or you can carefully open one packet—this one will be yours—and cut through it with a sharp knife.) Place each parcel on a plate, instructing guests to carefully cut an “X” in the center of their packet with their knives and being wary of the steam that will escape.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
- Lemony Green Beans from Kalyn's Kitchen
- Baked Apples in Parchment Garnished with Strawberries from Bell'Alimento
- Asparagus with Raspberry-Shallot Vinaigrette from Leite's Culinaria
- Zucchini with Ricotta, Mint, and Basil from Leite's Culinaria
Steamed Veggies in Parchment Parcels Recipe © 2010 Donna Hay. Photo © 2010 Con Poulos. All rights reserved.