What’s the best way to cook…?

Dec 6, 2019 | Cooking Tips

Today I am going to do something that I really enjoy but that I haven’t done in a long time. This morning I went to google.ca and typed “what’s the best way to cook” into the search bar. Google then suggested the 10 most common search queries starting with “what’s the best way to cook” and today I am going to answer all 10 of those questions. From halibut to zucchini this is what’s the best way to cook?


What’s the best way to cook halibut?

Halibut is a delicious fish that can be cooked in a variety of ways and combined with a variety of flavours. I personally find that halibut is best when seared in a pan and then finished in the oven.

To do this you just have to get a pan nice and hot over medium heat. Splash a few drops of water into the pan (there shouldn’t be any oil in the pan when you do this) if the water sizzles and evaporates within a second or two your pan is hot. Add a few teaspoons of oil to the pan, season the halibut with salt and pepper then put in the pan presentation side up.

The presentation side is the side that didn’t have the skin attached. Cook the halibut until it is nicely browned, this could take from 2 to 5 minutes depending on the pan and how hot it was. Flip the halibut and add a small handful of cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook for one minute. Then add in a big handful of spinach followed by about a half cup of white wine. Add in a few sprigs of thyme, parsley, and or basil then pop the whole thing in a 400°f oven for 7-12 minutes depending on the size of the fish.

Remove the halibut from the pan and place the pan back on the burner over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until a spoon dragged across the bottom of the pan leaves a line for a second or two. Remove the pan from the heat and add in 1-2 tbsp of butter, stir then pour over the halibut.


What’s the best way to cook beets?

For my money beets are best when roasted whole. This maximizes their flavour without making them soggy.

To oven roast beets, first, wash them and pat dry. Now, cut just enough off of the top of each beet to make a flat surface for the beets to sit on. Toss the beets with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the beets in a parchment-lined roasting pan and bake on 350°F for about an hour but depending on the size of the beets it could be a bit more or less time. The beets are done when a fork or knife is easily slid into them.

Once the beets are cooked allow them to cool for a few minutes. While still warm pick the beets up one by one and rub them using a paper towel. This should pull the skin off leaving only the delicious roasted beet underneath.

After the beets are peeled they can be tossed with butter and salt and pepper, cooled and used in a salad, or whatever else you can think to do with them.


What’s the best way to cook bacon?

Although some people may disagree I do believe that there is one best way to cook bacon. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t involve water.

I know that there are some people out there that think that the best way to cook bacon is to start it in a pan of water, cook it until the water evaporates then continue to cook until the bacon gets crispy. With all due respect, this is stupid. First of all the water is removing a lot of the flavour of the bacon and it’s not coming back. Secondly, once the water has mostly evaporated you are left with hot bacon fat in water which leads to lots of splatters and potentially serious burns. What you’re left with maybe crispy bacon but it is also going to be flavourless and it took a long time to get there.

My preferred method for cooking bacon is to start it in a cold pan. Lay the bacon in the pan, put the pan on the burner, and turn the burner on medium. As the pan slowly heats up it will start to melt the fat off the bacon. This does two things. Number 1, it makes the bacon a little less fatty. Number 2, the excess fat in the pan means that you are essentially deep frying the bacon in its own fat and flavour. Once the bacon is cooked on the bottom, flip it over and finish it. Drain the bacon on a paper towel and taste the crispiest, tastiest bacon ever.

Another great way to cook bacon is to lay it flat in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake it in a 350°F oven until it’s crispy.


What’s the best way to cook salmon?

Like with halibut I prefer a two-step cooking process when it comes to salmon. I sear it in a pan following a similar method to the halibut mentioned above, then I put it in a 350°F oven until it is cooked through. This works well for fillets but for bigger pieces, I like to just bake them in the oven.

The most important thing to remember when cooking fish is to not over-cook it. With fish, it is always better to have it slightly undercooked then slightly overcooked. You can always cook it a touch more, but you can never un-cook it. Err on the side of caution.

When it comes to sauces for salmon, simple is almost always better. A few teaspoons of dijon mustard mixed with maple always works well. Fresh chopped herbs mixed with a bit of oil and vinegar is great too. Don’t overcomplicate it, salmon has a delicate flavour that is easily overpowered.


What’s the best way to cook sweet potatoes?

There are two main ways to cook sweet potatoes. You can boil them or you can roast them in the oven.

To boil sweet potatoes, leave them whole and with the peel still on them. Put them in a pot, cover them with cold salted water, and put them on a burner on high. Bring them to a boil and cook until tender. Once they are cooked you can peel and mash them (the peel will slip right off), eat them as they are, or mix them in with something else.

Starting the sweet potatoes in cold water allows them to heat up and cook more evenly than if they are started in hot water. Yes, this will take a little longer to cook, but the sweet potato will be cooked evenly rather than mushy on the outside and firm in the middle.

To roast, the sweet potatoes either cut them in half lengthwise (peel still on) or peel them and dice them. Toss or drizzle them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast the sweet potatoes in the oven on 375°F until cooked through. ‘

One other method for cooking sweet potatoes that I really love and that is actually my favourite is to place the whole sweet potato next to the hot coals of a campfire. Turn it ever 5-10 minutes so it cooks evenly then eat it with salt and a bit of butter.


What’s the best way to cook liver?

Liver doesn’t seem like it is all that common these days but I think we would all be surprised to see just how many people still eat it on a regular basis.

To get the best flavour out of liver it is a good idea to soak it in milk for a minimum of 12 hours prior to cooking it. This will help to draw impurities and off-tastes out of it. When you are ready to cook it, remove it from the milk, pat it dry with a paper towel, dip it in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and cook it in a hot pan with butter. It will only take 3-4 minutes per side to cook the liver through and it is best to leave just a touch of pink in the center.


What’s the best way to cook sausage?

There are a lot of different ways that you can cook sausage form roasting them in the oven, to boiling them in beer and finishing them on the grill. They can be simmered in sauerkraut, or cut up and cooked in pasta sauce. Because there are so many options I honestly can’t say there is one best. But, here are a few links to some posts I’ve done with sausage that may give you a few ideas. Sausage and Lentils, White bean and chorizo soup, and Bangers and Mash.


What’s the best way to cook a turkey?

For my money, the best way to cook a turkey is also the easiest. Pat the skin dry, rub all over with butter, salt, and pepper, and loosely stuff it with onion, carrot, celery, and maybe a few links of sausage. Roast it uncovered in a 325°f oven for about 20 minutes per pound or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. One the turkey is cooked let it rest loosely covered with foil for 30 minutes before slicing.

For more creative whole turkey recipes check out the four turkeys post I did.


What’s the best way to cook kale?

The best way to cook kale is to not cook it at all. In fact, don’t eat it at all. It is terrible. Okay, but seriously there is a way to make it taste okay.

Remove the stems from the kale, and discard. Cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the kale into the pot in 2-3 batches. Cook the kale for 30 seconds then remove and put in a bowl of ice water. Repeat this process until all the kale has been blanched. Drain off the ice water and dry the kale as best you can by using a towel and a salad spinner. Toss the kale with a generous amount of olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay it out on a sheet pan and bake it on 325°F for 45 minutes to an hour or until the kale gets crispy. Serve as a side with salmon or halibut.


What’s the best way to cook zucchini?

When I was a kid we had a big garden and every year without fail we would end up with way more zucchini then we knew what to do with. My mom had found a recipe for zucchini chocolate cake which was actually really good. But other than masking the flavour of zucchini with chocolate what can be done with it? There is one way that I like to cook it above everything else.

The first step is to cut the zucchini into long thin noodles, you can use a spiralizer if you want. Then heat up a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add a handful of cherry tomatoes into the pan, then the zucchini. Cook for about 2 minutes then add in a few tablespoons of pesto, toss and serve. This works great as a main course or a side dish.


Conclusion

And there you have it, 10 questions asked and answered. Do you have a “what’s the best way to cook…” question that I didn’t answer here? I’d love to answer it for you. Ask me in the comments below or on social media. Have a great weekend everyone.

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