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Old 11-22-2004, 07:14 AM   #1
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Question About Broiling

I have a confession to make. I have a fear of broiling. I've broiled something maybe twice in my life, and I spent the time hovering white-knuckled as the seconds crawled by, anticipating disaster.

The problem is my over-active imagination. The food is so close to the heat source! And the coil is so red! How is it the food doesn't ignite? I know it will, I know it! And I'll open the oven door and flames will roar forth like the poltergeist from the TV screen and incinerate everything in sight and the house will burn down and leave me and Popsy the One-Eyed Cat homeless, shivering and destitute in a cold, uncaring world.

Can you help? Common sense tells me this won't happen. Probably. Do you broil a lot? Have you ever had anything catch fire? I come across so many dishes that sound so wonderful, that I don't make because I have to use the B word. It's making me miserable. How likely is it to happen, really? Why doesn't it?

There ought to be a support group for people like me. Meetings I can go to. "Hi, my name is Cats and I'm a broilerphobe." "Hiiii, Cats. Have a doughnut."

Thank you so much.


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Old 11-22-2004, 07:28 AM   #2
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Think of it as an upside down bbq grill. Instead of the glowing charcoal being under the food, the glowing coil is above the food.
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Old 11-22-2004, 12:39 PM   #3
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I used to have the same exact fear. I passed on making so many recipes only because they were broiled. I was convinced that I would ruin whatever I was making. Something to keep in mind is that depending on what you are making, the food does not have to be super close to the coils. Try something simple your first time. Do you like scallops? Can you get them where you live? If so then get some nice big sea scallops (not bay scallops) and place then in a baking dish. Put them under the broiler. They can get very close to the coil. Broil until they get all golden brown and delicious looking on top. keep an eye on them. You could even do this with the oven door open so you can watch them. It will probably take around 8-10 minutes or so, but once they hit that yummy looking color you need to be aware because a few seconds later they will start to get tough. If in doubt, take them out a little early rather then leaving them too long. You can eat them just like that, or maybe with a little butter and/or lemon and/or sea salt.
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Old 11-22-2004, 04:14 PM   #4
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I have done a lot of broiling with nary a problem. One thing, though, be sure to use a broiler pan with a vented top rack so the fat drains to the bottom. If you just broil on a flat surface like the bottom of the broiler pan, you can get a flareup.
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Old 11-23-2004, 07:42 PM   #5
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There's another post where I explained the principles behind broiling. Think of the broiler as the sun. When the suns rays strike your skin, your skin feels warm. But you aren't feeling the rays. What's going on is that the infra-red (long wavelength light) doesn't have enough energy to pierce through your skin. So its energy gets absorbed into the skin by exciting the surface molecules. Those excited molecules are what we describe as heat. As we baste in the sun, it continues to warm us, even making the skin hot. And dark pants in the full sun, well we know they can get pretty warm.

A broiler works the same way. The heat source isn't hot gasses (air) touching the food surface. It's a coil or flame that produces infra-red energy. That enrgy bathes the food and heats the molecular structure, starting with the outer layer. That heat is then conducted through the food by the present water or oil. That transfer of energy helps keep the surface temperature lower than the food's flash-point. Also, you're supposed to keep an eye on the food to prevent burning.

As you get very close to the heat source, you can get enough energy to ignite something. That is why the slotted boiling pan is a good idea. It allows the fats and oils to drip away and into the lower part of the pan, both transporting it further away from the heat source, and sheilding it from most of the infra-red energy.

Broilers can start fires, as can oven heat sources, high intensity torch lamp bulbs, space heaters, hair driers, etc. Teh broiler is actually safer than the stove top. You can't spill anything on it, and it's probably less intense than the gas flame or electric coil that provides heat to the pot. You can put your hand under the broiler for a few short seconds without even getting uncomfortable. Try that with the flame or heating element of your cooktop. Contact for just a fraction of a second can produce serious injury there.

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Old 11-23-2004, 07:59 PM   #6
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i broil alot. never had that fear.
burnt alot of stuff :oops:
but it never ignited
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Old 11-24-2004, 11:18 AM   #7
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Thank you-thank you-thank you! Y'all are too cool for school. I'm feeling emboldened enough to try it now. I even have my two dishes picked out:

Scallop Broil

2 pounds bay or sea scallops
8 tablespoons butter -- melted
1 large garlic clove -- minced
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
8 sprigs parsley
2 lemons -- cut in wedges

Preheat broiler 10 minutes. Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper
towels. Melt butter with garlic in small saucepan. Swish half of
garlic butter around sides and bottom of a shalllow baking dish.
Arrange scallops in a single layer in dish. Season with salt, pepper
and cayenne. Thoroughly mix paprika and flour and dust scallops with
this mixture. Pour the remaining garlic butter over all. Broil 6-8
minutes until golden brown. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon
wedges.

And,

Danish Feta-Cheesed Broiled Tomatoes

3 lg Tomatoes, cut in half
Dash of pepper
1/2 c Mayonnaise
1/2 c Danish Feta cheese, finely crumbled
1 tb Chopped green onion
1/8 ts Dried thyme

Core tomatoes slightly, then sprinkle tomatoes with
pepper. In a bowl, blend together mayonnaise, Feta
cheese, green onion and thyme. Spoon into halves.
Broil for about 5 minutes or until tops are golden


I'm all excited. I can't wait. All this after I buy a broiler pan, of course.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-24-2004, 11:29 AM   #8
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Those both sound delicious!!! Make sure to tell us how they turn out.

For what it is worth, I just use a baking dish when broiling my scallops and have never had a problem.

I may have to make your scallop recipe real soon. That sounds sooooooo good!!!
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Old 11-24-2004, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
I may have to make your scallop recipe real soon. That sounds sooooooo good!!!
Don't they? I'm thinking these scallops with the tomatoes, a lightly-dressed salad of Boston lettuce, maybe a few chives, and some crusty bread would make a fittin meal.
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Old 11-24-2004, 11:47 AM   #10
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OK so what time is dinner? I can be there any time. I will even do the dishes
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