Steamed vegetables in parchment–in this case, asparagus and green beans–is a simple, easy, healthy way of cooking veggies. Simply wrap them up and slide them in the oven. No fuss. And, even better, no mess to clean up afterward.
Who couldn’t use a savvy, sophisticated, assemble ahead of time strategy for veggies? Simply tuck veggies in parchment paper 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 don’t seem quite so humdrum, eh? Originally published March 29, 2011.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Fancy Up Your Steamed Vegetables In Parchment
These parchment parcels function not just as a rote recipe but as a basic blueprint. Switch things up according to your fancy or your veggie bin. Here, a few ideas…
• 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 Vegetables in Parchment
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 25 M
- 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
- Preheat the oven
- 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.)
- 5. 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. Serve…and bask in the applause.
- We prefer to use unbleached parchment paper, the kind that’s white rather than brown, to ensure the parcels portray a pretty aesthetic. But by all means, suit yourself or whatever you happen to have hanging around in the kitchen.