Have You Ever Cooked Food In Your Dishwasher?

Mon 26 Aug, 2013 01:47 pm

Dishwasher Cooking: Make Your Dinner While Cleaning The Plates

Post by Michaeleen Doucleff, The Salt at NPR Food (8/25/13)

My mom is a creative cook. And a darn good one at that.

But when she told me and my sister — way back in 1995 — that she had started cooking salmon in the dishwasher, we just rolled our eyes and shook our heads. Here comes a kitchen catastrophe.

An hour later, mom proved her teenage daughters wrong once again. The salmon was tender, moist and super flavorful. In some ways, it was better than her fish cooked in the oven.

Flash-forward 18 years, and dishwasher cuisine seems to be making a comeback.

So how does it work?

You wrap the salmon tightly in aluminum foil or a cooking bag. Add a lemon wedge, oil and some spices — cilantro, ginger or really, anything that you want. Put the foil package on the top rack and start a normal washing cycle, without adding soap.

That’s the traditional method. And it works great. The hot water and steam essentially poach the salmon. And at the low temperature, about 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the fish cooks very slowly, so it turns creamy and soft, as Dan Pashman of the Sporkful podcast tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin.

But is this really worth the time and energy? Running a dishwasher uses a lot of electricity and water. And if you’re not adding soap, then you still need to repeat the wash to clean greasy pots and pans. Seems like just a gimmick to impress dinner guests, right?

Not quite, says Italian food writer Lisa Casali. She argues that the method can be quite environmentally friendly. There’s just one trick: Instead of using aluminum foil, as many websites recommend, you should put the food into airtight canning jars or food vacuum bags. Then the hot water doesn’t touch the food. So you can add soap to the cycle and really clean your dishes while poaching dinner.

Casali has been experimenting with dishwasher cuisine for a few years. And the result is her cookbook Cucinare in Lavastoviglie (Cooking with the dishwasher), which gives recipes for a whole array of dishes, like couscous, veal, tuna and even fruits and desserts.

Dishwasher cooking is best for foods that need to be cooked at low temperatures, Casali says. “After some experiments, I found that it wasn’t just a different way to cook — it was a really particular technique,” she says. “Something I was looking for years: the way to cook at low temperature at home.”

Unfortunately, Casali’s book appears to be available only in Italian. But the innovative chef has put together a few how-to videos on Vimeo, with English subtitles, describing top recipes.

Or you can watch Pashman on YouTube cook everything from shrimp and beef to spinach and pears in the dishwasher. Bon appétit!

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Mon 26 Aug, 2013 01:47 pm
So, have you? If so, what did you cook and how did it come out?

Is this a gimmick or a great idea?
Mon 26 Aug, 2013 02:00 pm
I'm old fashioned. I'd rather poach salmon my old way, in a wide pan, should I ever run across actual good fresh wild salmon in the market, unlikely in my inland home, although I hear from my neighbor there is river salmon in northern New Mexico.
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Mon 26 Aug, 2013 02:00 pm
This one is a keeper for Edgar's Oddities thread:
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Mon 4 Sep, 2017 06:56 pm
I never tried to cook in the dish washer. But it's nice to know that it is possible to cook in the dish washer. How about cooking in the slow cooker? Does anyone here love to cook a simple vegetarian slow cooker formula, packed with summer flavors - ideal if you aren't busy, to put it simply it on in the morning and it'll be ready come supper time.
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Fri 1 Jun, 2018 07:52 pm
I cannot say I have ever cooked anything in my dishwasher but then I very rarely cook anything on my stove either
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