Parchment paper, is there anything it can’t do?
Before our readers snark and say that this is a blatant rip-off of ‘Puter’s homage to Chili Garlic Sauce, to which Dr. J. will affirmatively state, “You are correct, sir!”
Dr. J. was inspired to write this post on Sunday night when the lil med student requested that his old man pack him a BLT for lunch at camp the next day. He was so inspired because parchment paper made making bacon tremendously less work.
If you cook bacon in the microwave you have rubber bacon, and if you cooked bacon on a griddle/frying pan, cleanup is a Royal Pain. Trust the Royal Surgeon there. You have to pour off the grease into a can, and no one has a can anymore, so you have to line a bowl with tinfoil, stick it in the freezer to solidify, and then dispose of it.
Dr. J. turned on the oven to 375, laid out a piece of parchment paper in a baking pan such that the paper completely covered the sides of the pan (a little origami work in the corners to insure lining of the edges), laid out the bacon and baked it in the oven. After it was done (~15 minutes), clean up was a snap. Blot up the grease with paper towels. and throw the parchment paper and towels in the trash followed by a quick soapy mess.
So what is parchment paper? Parchment paper is a cellulose based paper. Cellulose, you may remember is the scaffold carbohydrate plants use for cell walls. It is quite waterproof and grease proof. In addition, it can withstand heat up to 420˚F (Dr. J’s taken it to 425˚F but don’t tell the fire marshall).
Dr. J. lines his pans with it for all baking tasks. It has also revolutionized making fish for him. All one has to do is take the fish, put a few dabs of butter (or extra virgin olive oil) and seasoning on the fish, add a few aromatics and herbs. One wrap it in a parchment paper pouch and bake it in the oven for several minutes and it comes out flaky, moist, flavorful and delicious.
In short, Dr. J. loves the stuff and it has made cooking (and especially clean up) so much easier for him. There is no one particular brand that Dr. J. endorses, even the store brand works great. Try using a roll of the stuff for your baking tasks and let him know what you think.