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Cooking Seafood in a Microwave

Cooking times in the microwave is calculated mainly on the weight of the seafood and the wattage of the oven. In a 700 watt oven allow 3 to 5 minutes at HIGH per 500 g (1lb) of seafood. To avoid overcooking, cook for the minimum time specified and allow seafood to stand (cooking continues during standing time). Check to see if fully cooked at the end of standing time. Standing time is about one-quarter to one-third of the cooking time. If necessary, cook for additional time.

If possible, use a round or oval dish and arrange seafood in a single layer around outside of dish with the thickest parts of the seafood to the outside. Whatever shape dish is used, arrange seafood in a circular pattern.

To seal in moisture, cover the dish with a microwave lid or plastic wrap. Seal does not have to be tight. Covering the seafood allows the steam to assist in the cooking. To seal in only some of the moisture, cover the seafood loosely with a paper towel. To allow most of the moisture to escape, leave the dish uncovered.

Thaw seafood before cooking as frozen seafood cooks unevenly in the microwave. To thaw seafood, remove from packaging and place in a dish. Use DEFROST power (about 30% power setting). Defrost for 1 minute and let rest. Repeat cycle as needed. Check the seafood carefully as the high moisture content of the seafood and the liquid produced by melting ice crystals can result in some areas of the seafood beginning to cook. Discontinue defrosting while the seafood is still very cold with some ice crystals.

Shellfish cooks well in the microwave. After cleaning, arrange shellfish, such as mussels, in a circle on a microwave dish. Place shellfish with hinged side to the outside. Cover allowing room for shells and cook on HIGH until they open. As shells open, remove from the dish and continue cooking until all shells open. Discard any that do not open. Allow about 2 1/2 to 5 minutes at HIGH per 500 g (1 lb) of mussels in a 700 watt oven.

Seafood dishes that require stewing, poaching, or baking in a sauce cook extremely well in a microwave.

Cooked seafood is moist, flakes readily when tested with a fork and is opaque.

Do not discard the liquid in the bottom of the cooking pan. Freeze and use to make sauces that are rich with the flavour of seafood.

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