Recipe: Just broil it!

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)
soy sauce
olive oil
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.

Rosemary Peaches
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.



    • says

      OH MAN that hadn’t occurred to me before! The last time I made pizza (on the highest heat on the floor of the oven) I burned myself so horribly (the sweet scar to prove it) I’m somewhat traumatized, but the broiler is a bit safer since the drawer comes out. On the list.

    • says

      I too broil my pizza. I put it in a cast-iron skillet, stick it in the broiler, wait a couple of minutes, and it’s done. I also love broiling vegetables for salsa. I stick tomatoes, jalapenos, and maybe some onion in the broiler, then stick everything in the blender with salt and garlic. It’s perfect!

  1. Kara says

    Thanks – i LOVE things that are broiled but have been afraid to ever try it. So, here are my dumb questions: you put it IN the oven, not in the drawer underneath, correct? I only use that drawer for pan storage, but my friend with a gas stove says that’s the roasting drawer on her oven. She’s a major chef, so I believe her (plus, I’ve seen her do it). Also, I live in a place now that has an electric stove, no longer do I live with gas. Did your google searching turn up info on that? I s’ppose I can just look for myself now that you’ve inspired me, but was wondering if you had any wisdom to pass along on that. ps: Wild Copper River Salmon is currently on sale at Whole Foods market if you’re interested. It is SO freaking good, and short seasoned like vidalia onions or macintosh apples.

    • says

      You know, I was wondering how broilers work on an electric oven as I grew up with an electric oven and remember the bottom drawer being storage, not a broiler. On my current gas oven, it’s the drawer below. After a quick google search it looks like the broiler is usually inside the actual oven on an electric rather than the drawer. I’m curious what the difference would be because they’re coils rather than a flame. You will have to report back on this!

  2. says

    This is awesome. For too long I’ve been all “What’s a broiler? Where’s the broiler?” But that stops now!

  3. says

    Oh man, I’m not sure if my broiler is in the drawer or not (right now it just stores my cookie pans. Maybe when NYC isn’t so unbearably hot I’ll turn on broil and see what happens in the drawer! Thanks for the great recipe.

  4. Sarah says

    Ha, I remember some of my american flatmates finding this quite strange when they travelled to the uk. Here we just call it a grill as in, “just put it under the grill!” Broil always seemed like a confusing word to use, and awkwardly close to boil? Cultural differences! Recently I realised I was roasting stuff in the oven with the grill on as well, but the charcoal-y taste was actually spot on. Broil on.

  5. says

    Our current apartment has a super old/vintage stove with a separate broiler. We’ve been having so much fun with it though because it’s a full on flame! Great for charring things and such. I’ve been meaning to broil peaches though, sounds absolutely delicious.

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