Cooking Fish Recipes in a Slow Cooker
Even if you frequently use your slow cooker to make beef, pork or chicken recipes, you might have completely overlooked fish dishes. Fish is known for its ability to cook fast so perhaps you thought slow cooking was not an option for it.
Actually using a crockpot to make your fish and seafood recipes helps to keep the subtle fish flavor intact because no moisture is lost during the slow cooking process and the heat is kept low.
You can use fish in casserole, stew, soup and pasta recipes. You can also poach or steam it in the crockpot. To poach fish, you just need to add it to the crock pot, cover it with water, stock or wine and add your chosen herbs or spices.
Parsley and bay leaves are especially good for fish dishes. Poaching might only take forty five minutes, depending on the type of fish you use and its thickness, so keep an eye on it. If you are using flat fish you can braise it. Roll it up before adding it to keep it in one piece and keep the flavor locked in.
How to Cook Shellfish in a Crockpot
Shellfish does not combine well with long cooking times, so if you want to add some to a stew or soup recipe, add it near the end of the cooking time so it can warm through. Shrimp can be added to crockpot chowders, soups or stews.
You can either add them in their shells or de-shelled. Gumbo and jambalaya are slow cooker recipes and you can add some tasty shrimp to these, whether you make them on the stove or slow cook them. Clams and mussels are good for making stews, especially when you use a tomato or white wine based sauce.
Slow Cooking Times for Fish
Some meat dishes, especially when you are using tough cuts, can take up to ten hours to tenderize in a crock pot but fish cooks faster, which is why slow cooker recipes for fish usually only need three or four hours.
Leaving the fish in the crockpot when it has finished cooking can dry it out so this is not something to leave in there all day while you are out. You will need to serve the fish as soon as it is ready.
You can cook steaks from big fish like mackerel, salmon, haddock and cod. You would not be able to fit a whole one of these fish into the slow cooker but the steaks cook well.
If you have a whole fish and it is very big, you can chop your own steaks from it or get a fishmonger to do it for you. Flat fish tend to be smaller in general than these bigger species, so you can cook a whole plaice or sole.
The flesh of these fish is not muscular since they are not very active. This means the flesh will be delicate and soft when it is cooked.
Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL: http://www.recipepublishingnetwork.net/