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Who said that the dishwasher is only useful after a meal, to clean up after dinner? It can also be used to prepare it, and with excellent results - from appetizers to desserts. That's what Lisa Casali believes. She's a pioneer food writer and strong advocate of dishwashing cuisine, and before writing the guide and recipe book Cucinare in Lavastoviglie (Cooking with the dishwasher), she experimented with numerous recipes, combining cuts and preparations of meat, fish, vegetables and fruits with the various washing cycles.
Not surprisingly, the book's index lists recipes by type of washing cycle: quick, eco, normal, or heavy duty. The principle is the same as that of cooking at low temperatures, a technique that up until now has been reserved exclusively for chefs who use waterbaths in preparing food, especially meat, which keeps it aromatic and unchanged in terms of its organoleptic properties.
"It's creative, healthy and great for novices in the kitchen," Casali notes. For those who want to master this unusual technique, here are a few of her recommendations.
What are a few fundamental rules for cooking with a dishwasher?
Get your timing right. You can cook a whole meal in the diswasher - from appetizers to desserts - you just have to select the highest quality products, the right cycle and heat sealed containers such as canning jars and food vacuum bags.
What advantages does it offer?
Many. Overall it allows you to save time, resources, and use 60% less fat than normally used. Cooking at low temperatures enhances the food's natural properties, so it doesn't require any extra condiments. In addition, allows for greater flexibility: a minute of cooking in a pan corresponds to at least half an hour of cooking at low temperatures. That way there's no risk in burning anything.
What types of foods obtain the best result with this type of cooking?
Meats. By cooking at low temperatures it is possible to cook firm and crisp seafood as well as very tender roast beef. Even lesser quality cuts will taste great. The most surprising food of all is the egg. With an hour-long cycle at 65°, you'll have a boiled egg with a soft white and a slightly creamy yolk.
What's the best washing cycle?
It depends what you're looking to make, every cycle has certain indicated foods. For example, the quick wash - 30 minutes at 65°C (149°F) - is perfect for fish, as it is delicate and doesn't do well with long cooking times. The eco wash - 3 hours at 55° C (131° F) - is indicated for red meat, shellfish and eggs.
Do you have any particular advice to offer?
Cooking with a dishwasher is really simple. If you want to be sure to impress guests, you can't go wrong: cook a roast in a vacuum bag with your favorite spices on the 3-hour cycle at 65 ° C (149 ° F). Right before serving, brown in a pan. Or, you can focus on mise en place: cooking in a jar offers the opportunity to create delicious individual portions. For example, try putting shrimp, lime juice and a dash of extra virgin olive oil in a jar. Before bringing it to the table, give it a quick shake and serve it directly in the jar. When it is opened, you'll find a flavor that tastes just as fresh as it was in the sea.
Three golden rules to cook with the dishwaher
• Make sure you have three sizes of jars: for desserts or fingerfoods a 150ml jar will suffice, and for first or second courses you'll want to use 250 or 350ml jars.
• Let the food cooked in the dishwasher cool before putting it in the fridge, where it can keep for 2/3 days.
• Add salt and condiments after cooking - food will naturally be more flavorful when cooked at a low temperature.