If you are looking to take your cooking to the next level by adding some new techniques to your repertoire, consider adding some fire by purchasing a blowtorch to add a heat element to your menu. It’s guaranteed to impress your guests and add a special flare to your technique.
Blowtorching, which most people associate with crème brûlée, can add a unique element, but the applications of the tool can be far more extensive. A blowtorch adds a quick burst of precisely direct, searing heat, and can be used for many elements of your menu. I’ve compiled a list of some innovative ways to use fire in your cooking, from drinks to dessert.
Drinks and Appetizers
To add extra flavor to pre-dinner cocktails, use a torch to lightly smoke spices, such as cinnamon and anise, or to char citrus like lime or lemon. For hors d’oeuvres, use the flame to scorch bacon-wrapped shrimp or scallops. You can also char vegetables for an earthy kick to dishes like bruschetta or salsa. Place vegetables like bell peppers or tomatoes on a metal sheet tray and use a medium-high flame on a blowtorch to char the skin all the way around. Place the vegetables in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove both the plastic wrap and the skin, and be careful because the produce will still be hot. (This technique can also be done using a grill or broiler.)
For the main meal, a blowtorch can be used in many different ways. Fish fillets and thin cuts of pork, beef, and chicken can be lightly charred and crisped before finishing in the oven. You can also use a blowtorch to crisp the top of any casserole, medley, or cheesy dish like macaroni and cheese that has baked in the oven and needs a nice caramelized finish.
In addition to Crème Brulee, Baked Alaska can be made with layers of cool ice cream, sweet sorbet, and delicious cake and makes fantastic use of the blowtorch technique. Before your guests arrive, assemble the cake and cover it in an Italian meringue, using a spatula to create decorative swirls. Set until frozen. At dessert time, torch the cake all around; the burnt meringue swirls will stand out beautifully against the white meringue, and the toasted flavor will pop against the sweet ice cream and sorbet. For a slightly easier end-of-meal treat, a torch is a great tool to have on hand for grown-up s’mores variations, with fillings like peanut butter, hazelnut cream, and bananas.
Information provided by our friends at Electrolux