Monday, April 09, 2007

Uses for Binder Clips - Parchment Bag Cooking

Weeks and weeks and weeks ago, the Other Kerri sent me a clipping of an article describing binder clips used for en papillote (or "parchment bag") cooking. It thrilled me that she'd been so kind, that it was a completely new use of binder clips and it was a cooking method I had never heard of!

So why has it taken me so long to post it? Well you see, she got the clipping from Cook's Illustrated magazine and when I went to their website it became clear that while some of their content is online and can be linked to, this article was behind their subscriber firewall.

So, I could have written them and asked for permission to reproduce the article that Kerri sent me, but I didn't because it annoyed me that they didn't make the content freely available in the first place. Especially because it looks like they got the idea from a contributor, Jana Volavka, and all she probably got was a free issue of the magazine or something.

There are all sorts of places you can go on the web to find out about cooking en papillote. Until a few minutes ago, none of them mentioned the use of binder clips. But now in Wikipedia we see:

En Papillote (French: "in parchment") is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from folded parchment paper, but other material such as a paper bag or metal foil may be used. The parcel holds in moisture to steam the food.

The moisture may be from the food itself or wine, butter, water, oil or another moisture source may be added.

En Papillote is perhaps most often used to cook fish. Choice of herbs, seasonings and spices depend on the particular recipe being prepared.

The pouch may be sealed with careful folding or through the use of staples, paper clips or binder clips.

External Links A basic Fish en Papillote recipe How To: Cooking en Papillote Using Reynolds® Parchment Paper

This is the beauty of Wikipedia: If it is missing something important, it can be fixed.

Meanwhile, I'm not even going to give a link to Cook's Illustrated. If they want to guard their intellectual property that carefully, they can't expect free advertising.


Anonymous said...

Is the paint on the binder clip heat-proof?

David Scrimshaw said...


That is a fair question. I will run some heat tests this week. Good excuse to make date squares.