Salt, Slow Cookers, Dishwashers, and Microwaves

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As the summer 2018 sun rises over New England, many await cooked lobster rolls, seaweed – steamed clambakes on the beach, and grilled bluefish. Though these foods certainly are classics, you can miss out if you don’t think outside of the box  and try some other ways to cook seafood as well. We’ll explore methods that offer a plethora of advantages over more traditional seafood cooking. These include lightning speed8, no fishy smell1, and a whole lot less work3.

 

Rock Salt Shrimp

Rock salt, which must be used instead of table salt for cooking shrimp in order to preserve the shrimp’s flavor.

As the name implies, rock salt shrimp is cooked on a layer of very hot rock salt in a pan1. Using rock salt is a great method for those new to cooking seafood, since it makes it very hard to burn anything9. The salt used MUST be ROCK SALT since cooking the shrimp on regular salt would make the flavor far too salty10.

To make rock salt shrimp, pour the salt into a pan 2 inches deep or more.  Make the salt layer approximately 1 inch deep. Put the pan into the oven so that the salt can be heated enough to cook the shrimp, for around a half hour with the oven set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit1.

Place the shrimp on top of the salt in a single layer. Put the lid on the pan to increase the pressure on the shrimp into the salt. Return the pan to the oven for about 2 minutes, and then flip the shrimp. Then cook the shrimp in the oven for the same amount of time on its other side1.

Hughes’ recipe for rock salt shrimp, with garlic and olive oil marinade. This recipe used a baking dish rather than the usual pan. The high – quality, preservative – free Gulf shrimp were provided by Atlantic Seafood!

Rock salt shrimp can be seasoned to taste6, as in a recipe for the dish by Chuck Hughes that soaks the shrimp in a marinade of garlic and olive oil , and / or served with dipping sauces such as the scampi dipping sauce employed by Tori Ritchie in her rock salt shrimp recipe 11

 

Slow Cooker

Though the slow cooker might normally be associated with casseroles and barbecue recipes, when it is joined with seafood the results can be extraordinary. A slow cooker is an electric pot typically used to gradually cook foods at low temperatures4. All slow cookers have three main parts – the heating element, the lid, and the pot itself. Slow cookers are often called crock pots, but in reality the terms slow cooker and crock pot don’t always mean the same thing. Crock pots are a style of slow cooker with the pot inside the heating element, the first of these having been the brand name Crock – Pot first available in 19705..

A brand – name Crock – Pot. Note the location of the pot inside the heating element, a trait which identifies all crock pot style slow cookers.

The manner of cooking done by slow cookers “…is halfway between steam and poaching cooking, a great discovery (Viau)!”Also making the slow cooker a great find for cooks is that using one to make a meal requires amazingly little work.  All you have to do is put the ingredients of your recipe in the slow cooker, turn it on, and leave. “The slow cooker will do all the work in your absence(Viau).” Thus, it is very hard to make a mistake with a slow cooker recipe. After the meal, a slow cooker recipe entails far less cleaning than other cooking methods since fewer utensils were used3.

On the website Jen Reviews, Sophie Viau introduces a wonderful recipe for slow cooker salmon that takes the slavery out of cooking sea food. This recipe combines the ease of slow cooker cuisine with just the right combination of ingredients to produce a dish that will have you wishing you’d started using a slow cooker for fish a long time ago3.

 

Dishwasher Salmon

That’s right, you may be surprised to find out that you’ve had a pricey, efficient seafood – cooking tool in your kitchen all along but have never used it. You can in fact cook fish during a cycle in your dishwasher. The fish is said to come out moist, tender, and delicious9! Cooking fish in a dishwasher also leaves no fishy odor in your home .

It is believed that Sheila Nickerson originated the dishwasher salmon recipe, which appears in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s  cookbook Bear Soup and Salmon Mousse of the 1980’s9.

Dishwasher salmon can end up  baked, broiled, or steamed. How the fish turns out depends on the size of the fish, the type as well as power of dishwasher, and the cycle chosen. You may therefore have to resort to trial and error to get dishwasher salmon just the way you want it, but achieving this is worth the effort9.

A dishwasher can be employed to cook any thick fish, not just salmon. To cook fish in the dishwasher, wrap foil around it snugly – adding lemon to the fish before wrapping if desired. Put the fish on the wrack of the dishwasher and run the cycle. When the cycle ends the fish is usually cooked1, but if not a second cycle can be started9.

When you cook a fish in the dishwasher you can make the recipe your own by wrapping oranges, apricots, sauces, thyme, dill, other herbs, or vegetables in thin slices along with the fish. Vegetables can also be wrapped in foil separate from the fish, to be cooked during the same cycle. The most important thing to remember when making dishwasher fish is that the fish must be wrapped TIGHTLY so that ingredients don’t leak out into the dishwasher9.

A simple but clever recipe for dishwasher salmon was developed by Mike McCarthy. This recipe flavors the salmon with lemon, butter, and herbs that are all added to the fish before it is wrapped7.

 

Microwave

Your microwave can be more than just a heater for last night’s pizza – it can be used to prepare respectable fish meals! The microwave is actually ideal for cooking fish in that it is incredibly quick on a busy night and eliminates most of the pans and other tools normally needed to cook fish. This also means much less cleaning8. Any fish steak or fillet can be microwaved, so long as it is boneless2.

A basic method for microwaving fish is to place a halved steak or filet of that fish in a dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. MAKE SURE THAT THE DISH IS MICROWAVE SAFE!!  See that the two pieces of fish do not overlap in any place, and that the thick centers of the halves point toward the dish’s outer edges. Add a bit of a liquid of your choice, and then seal the top of the dish with plastic wrap2.

Once some holes have been made in the plastic wrap for ventillation, put the covered dish in the microwave. Use high power to microwave the fish, and flip both pieces of fish one time during the cooking process. When the fish is fully cooked, add salt to taste if desired2.

Tilapia about to be microwaved with garlic, butter, and apple cider vinegar.

Microwaved fish recipes, though quick and easy to prepare, don’t always have to be basic and plain. Following is an interesting microwave recipe from Cooking Light for“Black Cod with Fennel and Orange8. Despite the greater complexity of this recipe and the more vibrant flavor, it is still cooked in five minutes or less8.

 

Works Cited

1. Smith, Brad. “EVER TRIED THESE 5 WEIRD WAYS TO COOK FISH?”.
wideopenspaces.com, 19 December 2016, www.wideopenspaces.com/ever-tried-these-5-weird-ways-to-cook-fish/.

2. “7 Easy Ways to Cook Fish”.
H-E-B.com, www.heb.com/recipe/recipe-article/7-easy-ways-to-cook-fish/1392677044436.
Accessed 11 June 2018.

3. Viau, Sophie. “How to Prepare Delicious Slow Cooker Salmon”.
Jen Reviews, www.jenreviews.com/slow-cooker-salmon/.
Accessed 11 June 2018.

4. “Definition of SLOW COOKER”.
Merriam – Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slow%20cooker.
Accessed 12 June 2018.

5. Foster, Kelli. “What’s the Difference Between a Crock – Pot and a Slow Cooker?”.
kitchn, 6 April 2015, www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-crockpot-and-a-slow-cooker-word-of-mouth-217582.

6. Hughes, Chuck. “ROCK SALT SHRIMP”.
GENIUS KITCHEN, 21 June 2017, www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/rock-salt-shrimp-532100

7. McCarthy, Mike. “DISHWASHER SALMON”.
GENIUS KITCHEN, www.geniuskitchen.com/recpipe/dishwasher-salmon-18810#activity-feed.
Accessed 13 June 2018.

8. Bashinsky, Robin. “Cooking Fish in the Microwave”.
CookingLight.com, 24 January 2013, www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/cooking-fish-in-the-microwave.

9. Woodford, Riley and ADF & G staff. “Dishwasher Salmon”.
Alaska Fish & Wildlife News, July 2006, www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfmadfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=230.

10. “Shrimp Cooked on Himalayan Rock Salt”.
Back to Organic, backtoorganic.com/shrimp-cooked-on-himalayan-salt/.
Accessed 14 June 2018.

11. Ritchie, Tori. “Salt – Roasted Shrimp with Scampi Dip”.
epicurious, April 2009, www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/salt-roasted-shrimp-with-scampi-dip-352098.

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