Kitchen Talk: Healthy Cooking Methods

by | Nov 5, 2019 | Article, Tips And Techniques | 0 comments

Photo by Brandless on Unsplash

 

With recipes readily available in many formats, it’s easy to find a new flavor profile for using those vegetables in the crisper drawer or that package of seafood in the freezer.  But what about choosing a healthy cooking method to maximize the benefit of these foods?  Knowing some basics will move you a long way down the path, no culinary degree required!

The chart below presents several examples of healthy cooking methods, the types of food best suited for each one and an overview of the processes.  Consult individual recipes for specific steps, seasoning ideas and cooking times.

METHOD

USE WITH

THE BASICS

Braise Foods that do well with slow cooking such as

  • Meats and Poultry (tougher cuts)
  • Beans, Legumes
  • Vegetables (cabbage, sturdy greens, roots)
  • Fruit (firmer varieties)
  • Brown food item in pan on stove top
  • Place food into heavy, deep oven-safe pan or casserole with cover
  • Add stock, water or other liquid half way up the side of food
  • Cover, place in oven and cook at low heat until fork tender (usually 325°- 350° F in oven or low to medium-low on stove top)
  • Serve immediately in casserole or transfer to desired serving dish
Broil A high heat, quick cooking technique best for tender, smaller pieces of

  • Meats and Poultry
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit

Food is positioned under the heat source.

  • Season food as directed or desired
  • Preheat oven on BROIL setting
  • Place food on a broiler rack or other oven-safe pan, then place in the oven below the broiling element
  • Broil as directed in recipe, turning if directed
  • Remove from oven, transfer to serving plate and allow meats to rest before serving
Grill Similar to broiling, but with food placed over the heat source.  Works well for smaller cuts of

  • Meats and Poultry
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
Outdoor grill

  • Marinate or season food as directed or desired; preheat grill usually to medium
  • Lightly oil grill rack
  • Place food directly on grill rack or place smaller items on a grill pan or basket
  • Turn as directed by recipe
  • Transfer to serving platter and allow meat or poultry to rest before serving

Indoor grill pan on stove top –

  • Marinate or season food as directed or desired; preheat usually to medium
  • Lightly oil grill pan
  • Place food directly on grill pan above the heat source
  • Turn as directed by recipe
  • Transfer to serving platter and allow meat or poultry to rest before serving
Poach
(Shallow or Deep)
A gentle simmering technique best suited for tender foods such as

  • Fish and Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit

Shallow poaching partially submerges foods in liquid, no more than half way up the food. Deep poaching totally immerses the food.

  • Prep food as directed by recipe
  • Bring poaching liquid and any aromatics to gentle simmer; carefully add food item
  • Cover, poach until food is cooked through (as directed)
  • Transfer food to serving platter for service; liquid can be cooked over higher heat to concentrate it and make a sauce, if desired

Poaching liquids oftentimes contain an acid, such as citrus juice or wine, for flavor and to help proteins set quickly.  Shallots, herbs and spices work well for aromatics.

Roast A dry, indirect heat method performed in an oven most often used for more tender cuts of

  • Meats and Poultry
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Vegetables

The term “baking” is oftentimes used interchangeably with “roasting” as the process is similar.  Roasting usually takes place at a higher heat than baking.

  • Prepare and season food as directed by recipe
  • Place food on a roasting rack and then in a roasting pan, or on a sprayed or lined baking sheet
  • Place into oven and cook until desired internal temperature is reached for meat, poultry, fish or seafood, or until tender and lightly golden for vegetables
  • Allow meat and poultry to rest before serving; fish, seafood and vegetables can be served immediately
Sauté and Stir Fry Sautéing and stir frying are both rapid, higher heat cooking methods using a small amount of fat or liquid. They work well for smaller pieces of

  • Meats and Poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Prep food items as directed by recipe
  • Heat oil or liquid in sauté pan, skillet or wok over medium-high heat
  • Carefully add food
  • Stir vegetables and fruit often so as not to burn; allow meat or poultry to brown and form an outer crust before turning or stirring.
  • Allow meat, poultry, fish and seafood to cook through, and vegetables to be tender-crisp
  • Serve immediately
Steam A moist, medium to low heat cooking method in which food is placed over water but not immersed in it.  Works well for smaller, tender pieces of

  • Fish and Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Sausages
  • Vegetables

Aromatics can be added to the water to increase flavor in the food.

  • Prepare food as directed by recipe
  • Place liquid and aromatics in the bottom of a pan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium or low simmer
  • Place food into a steamer basket or pan insert, then over the simmering water
  • Cover and steam for directed amount of time, until food is fully cooked
  • Serve immediately

 

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Summary