Is microwave cooking good for you? It may seem odd that this question is still being asked many decades after the introduction of microwave ovens for domestic cooking. Many other “new-fangled” inventions have been introduced since we put a man on the moon, and have quickly established themselves as useful, safe, even good for you. But still, if you cruise the internet, you will come across some sites that claim that microwaves are inherently harmful, destroy the goodness in food, and should be outlawed. There are also sites that encourage you to believe you can survive and thrive on only air and water, that the Government spies on you through your television set, and that because the Amish don’t use microwaves, neither should you.
Firstly, in these times of litigation, counter-litigation, and concerns about public health, there would instances of successful claims against microwave companies held up in Courts and bans by Governments and public health authorities. I can find none. The bottom line is that a modern microwave which has not been subject to damage or unauthorised modification, is safe to use, when the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. Microwaves do not leak from microwave ovens while the door is shut. They do not continue to exist once the power is switched off and the door opened. And microwaving food is not “nuking” it. Microwaves do not exist in the food after cooking. Also, most research points to the fact that microwave causes no more destruction of nutritional goodness in food than does conventional cooking, such as that on a hob or under a grill. In fact, certain foods cooked in certain ways in a microwave preserve more nutrients in food than conventional cooking.
[Image source: theguardian.com]
Here’s a recipe that gives you all the goodness within the food, preserved in a way other forms of cooking cannot match. It’s fillet of salmon “en papillote”. You can adjust the recipe slightly to do the same with cod, but for me salmon rightly has a reputation as being a great tasting and healthy fish. Have it as a supper or a lunchtime snack, or include it as part of a bigger meal with steamed vegetables. This method also has the advantage that you don’t permeate your kitchen with the smell of fish for an hour afterwards!
- pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon whole coriander seed, ground fine
- 1 (8-ounce) salmon fillet, pin bones removed
- 1 orange cut into wedges with the white, pithy membrane removed
- 1 tablespoon dry vermouth or sherry
You’ll also need a microwave(!), scissors and a sheet of baking parchment paper, 2 feet by 3 feet.
Fold the parchment paper in half. Draw a large heart on paper with fold of paper being the middle of the heart. Cut out the heart with the scissors and open. Lay the fennel, leeks, carrots, and snow peas on parchment in the centre to one side of fold. Mix together salt, pepper, and ground coriander. Sprinkle it on the salmon fillet. Top with the orange wedges and sprinkle with vermouth/sherry.
Now comes the bit of Origami: Fold other side of heart over fish and starting at top of heart shape, fold up both edges of parchment, overlapping folds as you move along. Upon reaching the end tip, twist several times to secure tightly.
Next place the parcel on a microwave safe plate and cook on high for 4 minutes, or until the fish reaches 131 degrees (if you use a cook’s temperature). Open parchment carefully and serve as is for a snack, or with steamed vegetables.
This is an incredibly healthy way to enjoy salmon, and of course it is quick, getting yourself a new pan organizer would be perfect too in your kitchen.