Reviewer’s Note: A sample of the product discussed here was provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
Mrs. Paul’s Parchment Bake has officially joined the growing list of items that have likely been available in my grocer’s freezer for some time without my knowing it. Having recently obtained review samples of its Roasted Garlic and Lemon Pepper varieties, I’m pleased to now know that it exists and that it can be mine again whenever I please.
As its name implies, Parchment Bake simplifies for the consumer a cooking technique that involves baking seasoned foods (tilapia filets in this case) inside a parchment paper envelope. Tilapia is among my personal seafood favorites, so I was excited to learn it was the fish being utilized here. The cuts used tasted fresh, with none of the “muddy” flavor that tends to be a major argument against eating tilapia for people who don’t care for the fish. Where some meats and seafood are served in sauces whose flavors oppose or distract from the food they’re meant to complement, here the seasoning sauces do an able job of permeating the fish, but still allow the tilapia’s natural flavor to shine through. The Roasted Garlic variety, my first sampling, is as savory as it sounds, with a taste I could revisit often and not tire of it. The Lemon Pepper bake was equally tasty, aswim in creamy sauce that is big on lemon essence but stops short of being overly so, and is sugary enough to smear on unfrosted cupcakes. The level of sweetness took me by surprise on first bite, but it was not unpleasant, and the more I tasted, the better it seemed to suit the fish.
This product exceeded my expectations in terms of preparation ease, overall taste, and most importantly, the moistness of the finished dish. Sold two per box, each filet is about the size of a deck of playing cards. In opening the box, you’re halfway to your finished meal. Place the sealed parchment envelopes inside your pre-heated oven in a baking pan with the envelope’s seam facing up, and your entrée is done less than 25 minutes later. When removed from the oven, the fish flaked easily with a fork and retained enough moisture (a guiding principle of cooking food in parchment) to stay melt-in-your-mouth tender.
One caveat for those fond of toaster oven cooking is that preparation by this method is not recommended. Another is that as a man with what I’ll call a “healthy” appetite (though one could argue to the contrary, given my admitted occasional portion-control issues) I imagine I could easily consume a two-serving box by myself, even accounting for added side dishes. And while that may seem less a shortcoming of the product than of the reviewer and thus an unfair judgment, I mention it more as a testament to this product. Because it tastes that good; so good that I found myself pondering what toll regular indulgence would take on my wallet. Having said that, Parchments Bake ends up being a cheaper per person dinner option than one would find in any restaurant seafood entrée. Still, those with larger appetites and those feeding large families will want to carefully consider whether this product, deliciousness notwithstanding, is the best, most economical option for them as a regular meal. As an occasional treat however, in those instances when one is unable or too tired to prepare an elaborate meal, this is an encouraging product, and one I look forward to trying again soon (I’m looking at you, Garlic Butter and Classic Grilled!)