I had an exchange on Twitter with a friend on Twitter doesn’t like food that comes out of the microwave. But the microwave doesn’t inherently change the taste of food—there no such thing as “microwave taste.” Microwave techniques are different than other cooking methods. To get good results from the microwave, you need to learn how to cook with it. Just like with any appliance or tool. Also, some foods do better in the microwave.
Microwave cooking is closest to steaming. That’s why fish and most vegetables come out quite tasty. This week I cooked a large fillet in the microwave, using a technique I learned from the cookbook The Well-Filled Microwave.
A few weeks ago I foraged some oranges from a local park. Too sour to eat, the juice tasted wonderful in this recipe.
900 g. (2 lbs.) Nile perch or other fillet
- 2 tablespoons citrus juice (lime, orange, lemon)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled finely (the secret ingredient)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, optional (I skipped it)
- Mix the marinade in a microwave-safe, shallow dish. I use a quiche pan. The fish was too long to fit, so I cut off the end and laid it along the large fillet.
- Turn over the raw fish letting the marinade coat the entire surface, then cover the pan. Marinate for 15-30 minutes, and not longer than an hour. (set your timer!). I use a glass pie plate so I don’t have to use plastic wrap. Whatever you use, steam should be able to escape.
- Microwave the fish on high for 6 minutes. Carefully turn over the fish with a large spatula. Cook again for 5 minutes.
- Check for doneness. The juices should run clear in the thickest part of the fish, and you should be able to flake it easily. The flesh should be opaque. Fish should never be overcooked, especially in the microwave, so until you gain experience you will need to check it frequently at the end. Each microwave is different. Total cooking time for a thick fillet is about 15 minutes.
- If you like, remove the fish and continue cooking the juice for another minute or two to thicken it. Serve the marinade along with the fish.
In the picture below, the fish looks pink but it is not far from done. The thinner parts of the fish are white. If you have more than one piece, removed the cooked fish before continuing. Smaller pieces can be placed so that the thicker parts are near the outside of the pan. In the microwave, food in the center takes longest to cook.
I was a bad blogger and didn’t get a picture of the completely cooked fish—we were hungry! After dinner there was a small piece left, which my daughter took to school the next day.
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