Kitchen Basics: How To Use Your Broiler
With the explosion of available kitchen appliances taking up more and more space, you might be thinking that you do not need to know about another new technique. That being said, this article is about something that you already own – a broiler. Once you have learnt how to use your broiler you can cook healthy food up quickly and efficiently whenever you need to.
What is a Broiler?
A broiler is that overlooked shelf, found either underneath or directly inside your existing oven. The process of broiling means to cook food using the dry heat directly from the broiler. Broiling can be thought of as a type of grilling since broiled foods usually turn out to be brown on the surface. Broiling is a cooking process which is frequently used for meat and fish in the professional kitchen, and most chefs also recognize that broiling is great for fruit and vegetables as well. There are more than a few advantages to cooking your food by broiling. It is very quick, and the majority of foods only take around 15 minutes to cook and, in contraste to grilling, preparation of your food and clean the clearing up afterwards is easier.
Wherever your broiler is to be found it will contain a hot heating element which can be either electric or gas and a rack beneath it. This means that you will be cooking food next to an intense heat directly above instead of underneath your food. Obviously, when using the broiler, there is no need to mess around with charcoal or having to go outside to use the grill. What you get instead is enjoyable hot food, cooked crisp and golden in a flash.
Using a Broiler
It is possible to use the broiler to cook food from start to end, but then again it is likewise great for providing you with the ultimate finish in the cooking process on something like a casserole or on a pie when you would like to brown the top.
On the whole, flat foods work best in the broiler like chicken breasts as thicker meats may take much longer to fully cook through, and so the outside can sometimes burn. You might be able to compensate for this by taking the rack away from the heat a little, but then you will not get food to brown as well so you will just be baking it in effect.
Where a broiler offers a choice of heat setting, always select the high setting. With a broiler rack which is adjustable, place it a few inches from the heat and remember to preheat for a few minutes first so that the heating element can get up to a correct temperature.
Broiling Steak to perfection
The broiler cooks very rapidly at a high temperature, making it perfect for cooking a steak well or even rare. Simply chop your steak to fit after leaving it to reach room temperature, brush it with oil, season the steak, and then place it on the broil shelf for 5 minutes, as you do so continue to flip it over. A touch test will let you know when it is done, a steak should give a little when you press it and spring back up so you can see that it is not too soft. Rest the steak after you have cooked it.
Likewise, you can use the broiler to finish of other meats, like ribs, to provide them with a crispy outside. The broiler is not usually useful if you want ‘well done’ meat, including burgers, as by the time the inside is cooked, they end up being too dry on the inside and charred outside.
You are able to broil a whole chicken, but you will first need to split the breastbone of the bird a process known as spatchcocking. The aim is to smooth out the chicken as much as possible so that it fits, but also so that the chicken cooks evenly. Luckily, chickens are every now and then being sold that way anyway. You simply need to marinate the chicken, brush it with plenty of oil, and baste it.
Regularly keep a check on anything that you are cooking in your broiler. Your spatchcocked chicken as well needs to be placed a little further from the element than other meats, around 6 inches due to the speed at which you need to cook it at. It is also possible to use a broiler to finish chicken thighs or drumsticks which want to cook for longer at lower temperature but will profit from browning once cooked.
Fish and seafood in particular are slight and as such they cook quickly, making them perfect for the broiler. Brush all fish with olive oil before you season, then broil for 5 minutes. Thinner cuts of fish will not need to be constantly turned over like other meats.
For any type of vegetables that you know that you can grill, you will also be able to pop them in the broiler. Broil anything from tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, onions, zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms. Just make sure that you thinly slice anything that you broil, brush foods with olive oil, and season for maximum taste. Broil vegetables for 5 minutes or until brown. Again, due to the intensity of the heat, you must keep an eye on what you are cooking to ensure that food does not blacken and burn.
You are also able to cook up fruits in your broiler, the same type of fruits that you would pop on the grill when you are cooking outside, pineapples, mangoes, and even bananas.
Broiling is a much under used technique of cooking food in many modern kitchens. Any way you look at it, the broiler is undeniably a fantastic way to speedily cook healthy food. When you family is craving that authentic grilled flavor but cannot get outside, it is well worth knowing how to use your broiler.