What to make under the broiler?
January 17, 2008 2:55 PM   Subscribe

What's your favorite thing to make under the broiler?

The other day I made my first steak under the broiler, which was totally awesome. Now that I'm not terrified of the broiler anymore, I'm looking for more stuff to throw under there. Veg, meat, it's all good.

Oh, and if it matters it's a gas oven. (Do electric ovens even have broilers?)
posted by sugarfish to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:58 PM on January 17, 2008

pork chops. ribs. vegetable casseroles with crispy tops. cauliflower gratin.
posted by luriete at 2:59 PM on January 17, 2008

mmm... salmon
posted by jozxyqk at 3:01 PM on January 17, 2008

I subsisted on a diet of nachos during my college years - all thanks to the broiler. If adding ground beef you'll want to cook that up on the stovetop before adding, obviously.
posted by quadog at 3:01 PM on January 17, 2008

Better Than Pizza™

Hollow out a half of a baguette, put on a layer of garlic butter, fill with sauteed mushrooms, cover with slices of avocado, then top with mozzarella.

I usually drizzle some hot chili ontop also for some extra kick.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:02 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

Since my 16th floor can't host a BBQ grill, the broiler serves as a decent faux grill. Even something as simple as hamburgers work well enough under the broiler. It also works very well for getting things just a little crispy, e.g. potato bakes

And yes, my electric oven has a broiler.
posted by Nelsormensch at 3:03 PM on January 17, 2008

Garlic Bread

1. Get a Sullivan Street pugliese (or a really good crusty bread) and cut in half lengthwise
2. spread liberally with roasted garlic,
3. glug extra virgin olive oil on top
4. Salt and pepper
5. put slices of fresh mozzarella on top
6. Broil until mozzarella is warm/hot
posted by spec80 at 3:10 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

peanut butter toast:

1) spread peanut butter on wheat bread (be generous)
2) spread butter on top of that (be generous)
3) sprinkle sugar on top of that (be generous)
4) broil toast & pour yourself a tall glass of milk
5) enjoy
posted by ncc1701d at 3:13 PM on January 17, 2008

first you take the cheese and you grate it, you grate it.

Then you take the bacon and you slice it, you slice it.

Then you take the bread and you slice that, too. Slice that, too.

Then you put the cheese and the bacon and you put in in the broiler. Put it in the broiler.

Then you wait about six minutes and then you eat it. You eat it.
posted by parmanparman at 3:14 PM on January 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

French onion soup!
posted by mudpuppie at 3:17 PM on January 17, 2008

Garlic bagels. Put butter and garlic salt on some bagels and broil 'em up. Dip in marinara sauce.

Nachos! Tortilla chips + cheese + salsa.
posted by veronitron at 3:22 PM on January 17, 2008

Broiled butterfly chicken.
posted by TungstenChef at 3:24 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Broiled salmon is all crispy and gorgeous and lickety-split quick. All it needs is a little salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and some chopped dill. (Alternatively, you can brush it with a thin layer a bit of plain yogurt mixed with a bit of dijon mustard.) Usually takes about 5 minutes. I make this at least once a week.

I like throwing veggies under the broiler, too -- chunk up whatever you want in bite-sized portions (I'm very into fingerling potatoes and parsnips these days), toss with a little olive oil, thyme, and salt/pepper, then put under a broiler till golden. Broiled asparagus works great, too. For extra decadence, wrap asparagus with prosciutto before broiling (great for appetizers!).
posted by scody at 3:25 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

OH! And you can roast peppers, too. Halve some beautiful sweet bell peppers and set them (on foil) under the broiler until most of the skin is charred. Don't be put off by the skins getting all black and blistery -- that's what you want. Make sure they're pretty close to the flame, otherwise they'll cook without charring.

When they're done, pull them out and toss the peppers in a bowl, then cover with foil to let them steam for a bit. When they've cooled enough to handle (but they're still warm), you can basically slip the charred skin right off the pepper halves. They will be soft and incredibly sweet -- almost caramelized -- and will go beautifully in salads, appetizers, on sandwiches, etc. (Or I love just drizzling them with some bleu cheese dressing and gobbling them down that way.)
posted by scody at 3:30 PM on January 17, 2008

Nthing pork chops or pork steaks. I like to season them with onion salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Broil at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes on each side.

Something I often made for myself when I was a kid was my version of a mini-pizza: English muffin halves spread with tomato paste (not sauce), sprinkled with a little oregano, and then topped with parmesean cheese (the generic supermarket stuff in a shaker can). Broil at 350 degrees for about eight minutes, or until the cheese just starts turning golden brown. It's not gourmet, but it's a warm tummy filler on a cold winter night.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:32 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Broiled potatoes, of course. Some rosemary, sage, etc.
posted by klangklangston at 3:32 PM on January 17, 2008

Croques-monsieurs! I prefer them open-faced.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:34 PM on January 17, 2008

sweet potato wedges or chips.... ummmm....
posted by dawdle at 3:56 PM on January 17, 2008

Crème brûlée.
posted by hjo3 at 4:10 PM on January 17, 2008

You can broil cake frosting...yum!
posted by youarenothere at 4:13 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pretty much anything with cheese. I happen to enjoy eggplant/basil/fresh mozzarella open faced sandwiches.
posted by missuswayne at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2008

turkey wings marinated (usually) in a lime/chipotle/brown sugar solution.
posted by bruce at 4:23 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bacon, as long as you have a wire rack/pan to let the fat drip.

Steak is ok, if you don't like pan-frying it in butter.
posted by herbaliser at 4:49 PM on January 17, 2008

I liked broiled grilled cheese sandwiches :) nicde and crispy.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:12 PM on January 17, 2008

The broiled open-faced sammich of sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella....melt the cheese ruthlessly, wave the olive oil over it, sprinkle with fresh basil, and OM NOM NOM NOM.

As mentioned above, fish is great under the broiler -- easy and healthful. I do tilapia, tuna, salmon, catfish, whatever. Never start with a frozen filet, though: it tends to end up overcooked on the outside and raw in the middle, especially for a thick cut like a tuna or salmon steak.

Ooh! I just thought of this! Brussel sprouts with pancetta is awsum when finished under the broiler. Quarter (or halve, depending on size) some brussel sprouts, toss with light olive oil and salt and pepper, and shred a bunch of pancetta, toss it all together. Put it in the oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes or so, then fire up the broiler and get the top layer all brown and crunchy. Yum.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:45 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

My mom used to make me broiled grapefruit when I was a kid - it was (and still is!) oh-so tasty:

Cut a grapefruit in half, fresh out of the fridge. Sprinkle cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar on it, then stick it under the broiler for a few minutes (just until the sugar starts to 'sweat' a little). Oh man, the top of it gets all hot, but beneath that the grapefruit's still cold so you get that contrast in every bite, and it's all so cinnamony and grapefruity ... darn it, now I'm gonna have to pick up some grapefruit the next time I'm at the store ...
posted by zeph at 5:48 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh! I also wanted to mention something my sis taught me just the other week (everyone in my family but me is a good cook, lucky they keep showing me these uber-easy recipes):

Mix together a can of garbanzo beans, a can of kidney beans, and a can of pinto beans. Add THINLY sliced onion (maybe half a large onion, or an entire medium one) and a chopped-up pepper (an orange or yellow one adds nice color, but I'm cheap so I just use the green ones). Stir it all together with a little olive oil, thyme, rosemary, & salt and pepper, then stick it on a baking sheet under the broiler until the onions start to caramelize. Take it out and mix in some red wine vinegar to taste, then add some crumpled feta cheese - ridiculously easy but it tastes fantastic!
posted by zeph at 5:52 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sourdough bread + butter + parmesan cheese + broiler = mmmmmmm...
posted by proj08 at 5:58 PM on January 17, 2008

Mushrooms. Take some mushrooms (I do 1/2 a pound at a time). You can use anything that seems good: I prefer either baby portobellas or plain white button mushrooms.

Marinate them for 30+ minutes in something that seems good. (I do about equal parts olive oil and basalmic vinegar, with dried herbs. Rosemary and thyme are a good combo.) I just stick the mushrooms in the dish I intend to broil in, throw in the marinade, and stir 3-4 times total (so, stir, go do something else for a bit, stir again, etc.)

When they've marinated as much as you like, turn on the broiler. Broil for about 3-4 minutes, so they're clearly cooked through, maybe a little longer. Eat. You can also bake them, if you prefer (bake 15-20 minutes at 350F.) They keep quite well cold: I've brought them to potlucks to great acclaim (from the mushroom eaters in the crowd, anyway.)

I'm also really fond of tuna melts. (Toast bread or English muffins. Apply tuna fish to the bottom half. Put a piece of cheese on top - good cheddar or swiss are great. Broil for around 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melty. Cover with the top half. Let cool just slightly. Eat.) You can put in a tomato slice, too.
posted by modernhypatia at 6:59 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Braise dark meat chicken in some tasty liquid until it's done, then pop it under the broiler, as close as it'll go, until the skin is dark and crispy. It's the best of both worlds as far as texture goes — it gets the meat absolutely as tender and juicy as possible, but still gives you the wonderful crisp skin.

Take some nice fat beef short ribs and score them all over with a sharp knife. Toss them with a few tablespoons of sugar and let that sit in the fridge for a few hours. Add a nice pour of soy sauce, a few tablespoons of sesame oil, and however much garlic and ginger it takes to make you happy, and let that sit for another few hours. Pull the ribs from the marinade, let them come up to room temperature, and then broil them like you would a steak. Farther from the heat is better here, since the sugar will burn if you let it — a few scorch marks are great, but you don't want to overdo it.

On preview, the regular, non-baby portabellas are also fantastic under the broiler. Pull off the stems, marinate them in whatever strikes your fancy and then cook them as if they were hamburgers.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:33 PM on January 17, 2008

I got a
Croque Monsieur Stovetop Sandwich Toaster
at a garage sale last summer. I had no idea what it was, but it looked neat for $2. Google solved the mystery. Here is the order information for those not blessed with garage-sale-foo.

But it has nothing to do with toaster cooking.

In college, I lived in part on chicken wings cooked in a toaster oven. I loved the damn things. I still do. (A chicken wing is essentially a lump of fat, with a little protein in it so you don't gag when you eat it, and a lot of bones and stuff you do not actually eay but thet make it possible to pick up)

In the 1960's, chicken wings (in NYC) were about 10 cents a pound. One of the not-well-covered disasters for the poor since 1970 is the incredible inflation in the price of cheap food. The price of fish (another college staple) has of course gone through the roof since fisheries have depleted and heart fear has increased, but all cheap food (beans, potatos, rice) has gone up way more than inflation on say, cars, or furniture.

Also, fresh coarse Maine & Long Island potatos are now eye-filled tiny half-rotted crap, since the frozen fries and chip producers get all the decent ones. Idahos are really only good for baking, and the little fine-textured reds and whites are pretty flavorless--mashed they become library paste; sliced into potato salad (their best option) they depend completely on spices for taste).

Rant rant rant. And their music...it's just noise!
posted by hexatron at 7:46 PM on January 17, 2008

Asparagus with some salt and pepper a little olive oil and a pinch of sugar. This also works well with green beans and zucchini. Keep them under there till they are nice and brown, take them out, give them a shake and you are good to go with lots of big flavor.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:52 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ditto on the asparagus by bkeene12, but without the pepper and sugar and add a little garlic powder.
More often than any other, just some halfway pre-toasted bread and swiss cheese.
posted by pmalek at 7:55 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thirding bkeene12's asparagus plan. Broiling is the best way to cook asparagus.
posted by madmethods at 8:06 PM on January 17, 2008

Tuscan bread (got the name from the guy who taught me in college): Slice a baguette (or any bread, really)

Drizzle some olive oil on, then put tomato slices and very thinly sliced red onions on top. Top off with any kind of cheese you want, anything from generic shredded cheese to queso manchego works. I usually add some italian spices (basil, parsley, oregano) on the tomatoes, but another good way is to put some curry powder (like garam masala or something) on instead.

I literally lived on these during my study abroad in Madrid. They've got some awesome bread and fresh veggies there, so it worked well.
posted by Jhoosier at 8:27 PM on January 17, 2008

This might sound like a cop out, but I'd like to refer you to Mark Bittman, one of my favorite cookbook authors/chefs. He's pretty big on using the broiler in a lot of his recipes, often viewing it as an easier alternative to grilling. He's got two books out that I can't recommend enough, "How to Cook Everything" and "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian*," as well as a column in the NY Times called The Minimalist.

* I'm not a vegetarian, but I do like to cut back on my meat intake for health reasons and preserving the environment. Mark Bittman's book actually makes trying vegetarianism fun, though. I get enthused about trying recipes from that book, and I don't feel like I'm denying myself because I'm getting exposed to new ingredients and new ways of serving vegetables I've only given a token steaming as side dishes before. Sorry for the tangent, I just wanted to establish that it's a great book for carnivores, too.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:37 PM on January 17, 2008

PS: It's great that you have a gas oven for this. The broiler heats up faster and does a better job than most electric ovens, as far as I can tell in my experience with both types of ovens (I haven't seen really recent electric ovens). Also, it seems to be a myth that you need to keep the door open while the broiler runs, if people have told you that. Keep the door closed and the broiler heats up faster and the food gets hotter.

I feel bad for saying so much with no real contributions. You can make creme brulee with your broiler. The browning won't be as nice or even as with a propane torch, but at the same time you won't have to buy anything.

It's also good for making toast in large numbers, and it browns better than most toasters. Just remember to flip the toast before it burns! This is kind of copying the people who said bruschetta, but I figure I may as well say it explicitly.

If you like frozen french fries, but wish they were crisper, you can use the broiler to crisp them up at the last minute, or even try cooking them the whole time under the broiler.

It's also great for browning cheese on top of things like meatloaf, lasagna, casseroles, or really anything if baking doesn't get the top as done as you like even though the rest of the food is cooked through. This also goes for stovetop dishes that seem like they could use browning. Make sure your skillet has metal handles so it can go under the heat, though.

The same goes for chicken pieces which didn't have skin as brown as you'd like. In fact, many high class restaurants will cook a chicken in a way that gets the chicken meat nicely cooked, but leaves the skin flabby, then they will cut it into leg and breast pieces. Before serving it, they fire it under the broiler so that even chicken prepared hours in advance is hot and crisp.

Just make sure you don't use Pyrex or other glass dishes underneath the broiler. The high, direct heat of the broiler can make them shatter.

Older green beans that don't seem like they'll have much flavor are great roasted; toss them in oil, salt and pepper, and maybe some vinegar or citrus juice, and broil the beans until brown and blistered at places. This works for a lot of root vegetables, too.

Try slathering leftover pork cut into pieces about a half inch thick or so which has been unseasoned or mildly seasoned with hoisin, ketchup, or a mixture of the two and then broil the meat over a broiling pan or wire rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet until caramelized (Make sure you use Pam on the rack). Add some brown sugar or molasses to the mixture if it doesn't taste sweet enough for you. Slice the pork thin and serve over rice or mix into fried rice.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:03 PM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

Lamb chops.

And, yep, electric ovens have broilers - those were done in an electric oven, on a broiler pan.

I've also done salmon, skin-on, successfully.
posted by 100watts at 7:07 AM on January 18, 2008

Awesome, thanks everyone! I'm going to eat very well.
posted by sugarfish at 7:19 AM on January 18, 2008

Tuna melts: Bagel, tuna, tomato, muenster. Toast the bagel first.
posted by speedo at 9:04 AM on January 18, 2008

I use glass casserole dishes under the broiler all the time, because I laugh at danger. Just set them on an oven mitt when you take them out or the temperature difference between the bottom of the dish and the kitchen counter will break them, like mccarty.tim says.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:20 AM on January 18, 2008

Broiled Tomatoes
posted by enfa at 8:35 AM on January 19, 2008

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