I recently discover this magical thing that has always been right under my nose. Or rather, just right above my feet. My broiler. The broiler has always been a mysterious place where crumbs go to evaporate and seemed like setting my oven knob to it would be akin to putting the Enterprise into warp drive and I was not prepared for the risk. But a month or so ago I bought some Korean bbq ribs at Trader Joe’s (affectionally known as “meat wang” in our home due to the lovely shape it comes in) and the instructions called for you to grill it. I was like, oh heck no, how can I grill this sans grill in this apartment? So I googled “grilling alternatives”, and that was the moment I dove head first into wonderful world of the broiler. Here are some awesome things about it:
1. Easy. You may tell me that you are a terrible cook and don’t want to attempt this, but it’s so easy you can hardly take credit for making the meal happen. Most things just need to be tossed in a bit of olive oil and put in for a few minutes. Done. SO fast.
2. It very closely mimics the taste of the grill. Obviously you’re not going to get that great charcoal taste, but it will char and sear things very similarly. Vegetables, particularly red peppers, get all kinds of amazing after being broiled. Because it cooks it so quickly, meat is so delicious and moist broiled if you get comfortable with the fact that it cooks quick and don’t overcompensate.
3. So far I haven’t found much of anything that isn’t delicious after being broiled. If you can grill it, you can broil it. I’m obsessed and rarely make a meal lately without broiling at least one thing.
So let’s move on with a recipe, shall we?
Broiled Salmon + Asparagus with Feta + Rosemary Peaches
Fresh salmon – cut into servings
marinade of equal parts: <— you can use any marinade you like, but this is my go-to
lemon juice (orange juice is also good)
1/2 part honey or maple syrup
Mix the marinade in a bowl/dish/tupperware container and place the fish flesh down inside. You want enough marinade so it’s sitting in a puddle of it, but it doesn’t need to be covered and drowning. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, or go crazy and let it marinade for hours in the fridge.
Toss desired amount of asparagus with oil and sea salt. Set aside.
Slice peaches into eighths. Toss with olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh rosemary.
For this recipe, I like to take a piece of aluminum foil and roll four sides up so you have a little “pan” to set the food in. If we were cooking juicy meats, don’t use foil – you want the meat juice to be able to drip down into the pan below so that the flame does not catch it on fire. If your broiler pan is gross and used from whoever owned it before you (apartment renters, etc) – give it a good scrub before hand. For this recipe you can make separate foil pans for each or one big one, whatever you want . They take different cooking times so separate might be the easiest, but a bit more wasteful.
Set your broiler pan on the middle rack. It should be about 3 inches or so from the pan to the top of the broiler. Turn the broiler on for a minute or so. Place the fish in for a few minutes, check on it and if it has a nice seared top, add the peaches. When it’s almost done, add the asparagus, which only needs about 2 minutes – depending on your preference. Just keep an eye on things and know that opening the door up 800 times is no big deal – the flame is cooking things so letting the heat escape doesn’t matter. Some people even leave it open, but I find that nuts. Poke everything/cut the fish in half to see how it’s doing if you’re unsure. Eventually after broiling everything known to man you’ll start to get a sense of how long things take.
When the asparagus is done, toss it with some feta. I put the peaches on a bead of baby greens that were tossed in virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Heavenly.
Special note: the broiler is SUPER HOT, duh. Please be careful if you are accident prone. Oven mits at all times, even putting things on the broiler pan as it heats under the flame in seconds.