The traditional French cooking method en papillote uses parchment paper packets to bake—and serve—fish, meat, or vegetables. And it’s like all things French: elegant and lovely, but a lot of work. But now a new product promises to eliminate the fuss. Just fill, fold, and bake. Sounds easy enough—but could it make this traditional French technique easy enough for a speedy weeknight dinner?
Gadget name: PaperChef Culinary Parchment Cooking Bags
Price: $3.79 for 10 bags
It looks like: Lunch sacks made of parchment paper.
How it’s supposed to work: Simply slide food into the basic bags and then fold over the open end three times to seal.
How we tested it: We prepared chicken, fish, and vegetables in the bags, comparing them with foil pouches and traditionally crimped parchment.
How it actually works: Food cooked similarly in each wrapper, but the PaperChef bags sped up preparation, taking 1½ minutes to fill and fold (compared with 2½ minutes for folding foil and 5½ minutes for crimping parchment).
Drawbacks: At 38 cents per bag, they are not as cheap as parchment sheets (19 cents) or foil (10 cents), but they do eliminate the need for scissors and a ruler. Also, there’s no taming unruly sheets of curling parchment.
Overall: Quick and easy, these parchment bags avoid the fussiness of folding and crimping sheets of parchment paper and look better on the plate than a packet of foil does.