Salmone al cartoccio
8 oval pieces of parchment, approximately 9-inches by 15-inches*
2 thin-skinned oranges
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, skinless, from the thick end
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 small shallot, peeled and quartered
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves only
2 tablespoons sultana raisins (golden raisins)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
* alternately, you can use four 12-inch by 15-inch sheets of aluminum foil **
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash both oranges well. Cut 12 1/8-inch thick slices from the center of one of the oranges and reserve. Using a microplane or other fine grater, zest the other orange completely, reserving the zest. Cut that orange in half and squeeze all the juice from it (and any from the ends of the other orange) into a bowl; reserve.
Place 4 ovals of parchment on your work surface; these will be the base of your packages. Overlap three orange slices on each piece of parchment as a bed for the salmon. Place fillets, skinned-side down, on the oranges.
Place the almonds, shallot, parsley, reserved orange zest, sultana raisins, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, salt and freshly ground black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process with on/off pulses until mixture forms a coarse crumb texture. Do not puree it, as you will lose the distinct bursts of flavor - sultana raisins, almonds and cumin seeds - that make this dish so special.
Divide the topping among the four salmon fillets and press it gently into the flesh. Drizzle each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, then 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice.
Top with the remaining four sheets of parchment and begin to crimp the edges by folding them over 2 or 3 times to create a seal. Continue folding around the edges, each time folding some of the previous fold into the new fold (this will help keep the previous folds in place) until you are back to the beginning. (As shown in photos) Place finished packets on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (12 minutes for Pacific wild salmon).
To serve, place packets on plates with minimal or no decorations. If you wish to garnish with fresh parsley, it can be passed separately in a small bowl. Packages may be opened with a sharp knife, scissors or, quite simply, the tops may be unfolded and lifted off. Vegetables and other accompaniments should be served on a side plate.
** If you are making this in advance (perhaps one or two hours), I do recommend using aluminum foil as the parchment will get soggy. Lightly oil the center before placing orange slices. When finished preparing the salmon, fold packets up (as shown below) and refrigerate them until you are ready to roast. In this case, once cooked, I would open the packets and remove the fish to a serving plate with a long spatula, drizzling any remaining juices on top.