Broiling isn't an open-and-shut case for this cook

I’ve always thought cracking the oven door was part of using a broiler.

I was under this impression because that’s how my mother broiled dishes. Whether it was garlic bread, halibut or salmon, the oven door always was slightly ajar. Usually she also stationed one of us four children in front of it, as well.

At the first sign of singe, we were to get her attention.

I could have used the help earlier this week. A few slices of squash and bread were harmed in the making of this recipe.

My mother claims that her first oven’s owners’ manual included leaving the door open as part of the instructions for broiling.

She continued to leave it open as do I. Watched pots may not boil, but unwatched broilers are nearly gauranteed to burn.

I tried broiling with and without my oven door open while creating this week’s The Gazette KCRG Cook Club recipe, and sure enough, the moment I closed the oven door two things happened: I forgot to check the cooking progress and the food burned.

Luckily, I needed only a few uncharred slices. If I’d been cooking for guests, I’d have been far more annoyed by my error because of inattention.

With two kids interrupting my dinner preparation every time I turn around, I need a less attentive technique — like roasting. So, I can’t say that I’ll be turning on the broiler again soon. I can say for certain, though, that when I do, I’ll be leaving the oven door open.


Top tier: If broiler is at the top of your oven, place rack 3 to 5 inches from heating element. You have less control with a broiler drawer, but generally speaking they are designed accordingly.

•Take your temperature: Some broilers have just two settings, on and off. Others have a high and low option. Typically, on high, food will cook at 550 degrees on the top rack. Temperature drops by 50 to 75 degrees on each rack down. Gas ovens tend to run hotter. Use an oven thermometer to be sure.

Closed case: Some broilers work while the oven door is open. Others won’t operate if it is ajar. Check your owners’ manual.

Thick and thin: To avoid underdone food in middle but blackened on outside, keep meat cuts thin — 1/2-inch thick — including fish fillets and steaks. Broil 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness. For thicker cuts, turn halfway through broiling. Conversely, cut vegetables thick.

Watch it: Broiling requires undivided attention or a good timer.

Source: Cooking Light

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