Pouch it, Seal it, Grill it! (Daring Cooks July '12: en Papillote)

In case you either a) live under a rock or b) live in another part of the globe, you may have noticed a bit of a heat wave going on....

Even up here in the lower Adirondacks, where the temperatures are usually 5-10 degrees cooler than in the valley, it has just been too hot for this mama. After five years of insisting that "I don't need no stinkin' air conditioning", I finally broke down and bought an air conditioner for the downstairs.

Yes, this was the June that broke this camel's back.

My poor children are very tolerant of their mother's energy reducing tendencies (which also spill over into turning off lights behind them and ridiculously low temperatures in the house over the winter).

I maintain that I am teaching them valuable life lessons in both cost reduction and the conservation of precious resources. They would maintain that I am inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on them.

When they have teen aged daughters of their own, we will reopen the conversation about what cruel and unusual punishments consists of... I wonder if they will have had a paradigm shift by then. Something tells me, they will.

Ahyhoo, while I love cooking in parchment (it's the standard treatment for fish in casa de Cher), I was not highly motivated to turn on the oven on a 95F day to make dinner.

Since I was not too confident about throwing parchment on the grill (visions of flaming paper and a ruined dinner were bouncing around in my head), aluminum foil was the cooking medium.

I had chicken already in the refrigerator, so that ended up being the protein of choice. The tomatoes were left over from another project & I had an abundance of pesto in the freezer from a recent pesto-palooza bout geared toward using up CSA produce. Paired with pickled cucumbers and semolina bread, it was a light but satisfying dinner.

Pesto Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes "en Papillote"

I served one packet per person, so here is the ratio for one packet - to serve more people, just do the multiplication :-)

2 chicken tender cutlets or 1/2 of a chicken breast pounded to 1/2" thickness (~6 oz total weight)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs pesto
6 cherry tomatoes or other small tomato

Preheat grill to medium high heat.

Prepare one piece of aluminum foil for each packet you plan to make - be sure to size appropriately to the contents (I usually cut an 8" x 8" or 6" x 12" piece). With the foil resting on a flat surface, drizzle 1/2 Tbs of the oil in the center of the foil - making sure the oil is spread out enough to cover the area that the chicken will be setting on.

Arrange the chicken in the center of the foil piece. Season with salt & pepper. Spread the pesto over top of the chicken pieces and press the tomatoes into the pesto. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and seal the packets - being sure to fold over the seams to prevent a crazy, dripping mess all over your grill.

Place the foil packets directly onto the grates in the warmest part of the grill. Cook for ~9 minutes.

Let rest for five minutes before opening - be careful, it will probably still be steamy... And enjoy!

This post participate in The Daring Cooks. Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.

Stay cool, y'all!


  1. What a gorgeous looking dinner :D
    It looks very tasty!

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. I'm sure my oven must be having abandonment issues by now. I haven't touched it since June. As for ac, I know, acknowledge, and agree with all the reasons it's bad, but I would be a non-functioning lump without it. Wimpy. :) However, round about the 18th, you might hear a distant primal scream all the way up in NY ... that's me opening the electric bill....

  3. Great job! I have been trying my absolute hardest not to turn on my oven for any reason what-so-ever, its sooo dang hot!! Some days it has even been too hot to grill, but we cannot live without the blessed AC! :) Great job on your packet, using what you already had and putting it on the grill!

  4. This looks delicious - great improvisation with the grill!

  5. The comfort of air conditioning is one that I thoroughly enjoy. Everything else, I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible. =D

  6. I love it! Simple and looks so yummy. It was hitting 103 in mid-June here. Send your girls south for the summer and watch how fast paradigms can shift :)

  7. This looks amazing Cher I think pesto chicken and tomatoes are a winner combination. You did a wonderful job taking on this challenge

    and I look forward to reading about reopening that conversation sometime down the line :) oh how I changed my views between my teen years and my mummy years

  8. I love this method of cooking, but have never tried it on the grill.

    My husband has a Pork Shoulder on his grill right now.

    Try to stay cool!

  9. I lovvvvvve chicken with pesto :)

    My mum used to be the same with the heating - if it's cold, put a jumper on. But in recent years she's done a backflip and turned into "that" old lady who feels the cold and heats the house like a furnace! Maybe if she baked more she wouldn't be so cold all the time ;)

  10. Oh, Cher as much as I would like to reduce my carbon footprint I simply cannot function without the AC. Can't sleep, can't eat, can't think. So kudos to you for holding out as long as you did!! Have never cooked en papillote-ish on the grill, but anything to not turn on the oven!!

  11. This looks good. I have a number of Jamie Oliver "en papilotte" recipes that are favourites - so easy and convenient.

  12. I hate hate hate the heat! I feel for you! But we've had a very mind winter here in sydney about 18-20degrees celsius on average so I'm scared of what the summer will bring!
    And I cooking on a hot day is a feat! Looks great!


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