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Cooking tips: Fire up the blowtorch to perfect these 10 delicious foods

While we may have evolved considerably past cavepeople, cooking with fire is still pretty fun

Toasted marshmallows
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Human beings survived in part because we learned to cook. We took fire and we put other animals over that fire, making them edible and therefore ensuring that as far as planet Earth goes, humans are at the top of the food chain. Over time, the use of direct-fire cooking has changed and evolved, just as we have. While we tend to use open flames mainly when camping and grilling in the backyard, we can also use an open flame pretty much wherever we want, thanks to the handheld blowtorch.

Small but mighty, a blowtorch is a great appliance to have on hand for kitchen torch recipes. Not only can you use it to help you smoke cocktails, but you can apply direct fire to a whole host of foods for blowtorch recipes and flambé the hell out of them. (OK, not all of them are flambéed, because they would entail dousing the food with booze à la Bananas Foster, but roll with it.)

Below, check how you can use a blowtorch for cooking and the foods you can create.

First, you’ll need a torch if you don’t have one. Amazon has a ton of options, but this torch is easy to use and will only cost you around $30.

French toast with blueberries and bananas
Joseph Gonzalez / Unsplash

French toast

Start your day off right — with fire! Instead of heating up a pan, you can easily use a torch to cook your French toast. You’ll get the same lovely dimpled brown color as you would from a skillet, but in a more hands-on way. Once the egg is cooked through, you can even go back and caramelize some maple syrup on top for double the fiery fun.

Blowtorch on creme brulee
star5112 / Flickr

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée translates to “burnt cream,” so it’s one of the few things that actually require a blowtorch. The caramelized sugar topping adds a nice crunchy texture to the soft, sweet cream below, making it a pretty perfect dessert.

Roasted marshmallow on a stick
Shutterstock

Marshmallows

Building a campfire just to make a couple of s’mores isn’t practical. Using a blowtorch, however, totally is. This one may seem like a gimme, but all you need to do is find some artisanal marshmallows and what looks like you trying to get out of the building. Here, a fire takes on a whole new level of sophistication.

Seared salmon and vegetables dish
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Fish

Practically any type of fish will do. So long as it’s fresh, most fish is fine to eat raw, but putting a good sear on the outside gives it a different flavor and changes the texture a bit. If you have any questions about the fish being eaten raw, make sure to ask your fishmonger about the quality of the cut you’re about to buy. (If all else fails, you can always blowtorch some oysters instead.)

Baked Alaska dessert
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Baked Alaska

Ice cream and cake tucked inside a toasted shell of meringue is quite possibly the most baller dessert ever. A dessert that came (allegedly) out of the U.S. acquiring Alaska — though no records can actually prove this — Baked Alaska has been a classic at fine dining establishments for well over a century.

Roasted bell peppers
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Roasted peppers

Those red peppers that come in jars? They’re not going to have anything on your own fire-roasted red peppers. What better way to up your antipasto or pizza game than by blowtorching your way to greatness? Since they’re great in a variety of dishes, you can make a few batches of these at once and save them for when you need them.

Skillet pepperoni pizza
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Skillet pizza

Who needs an oven when you’ve got a perfectly good blowtorch? Just cook up the crust in a pan and melt the cheese on top with an open flame. You can also use some of the roasted red peppers (above) for topping if you want to go all out. Tip: If you want a cheese that is meant for grilling, add some halloumi to your mix. This cheese, which more or less officially hails from Cyprus, has a high melting point, allowing you to get the desired fired effect from mozzarella and gooey goodness from the halloumi.

Bananas foster dessert
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bananas foster

Looking to really crank your table-side service up to 11? Stop trying to impress people with Caesar salads and guacamole; instead, make them bananas foster. Never made it before? We’ll give you a hint. You’ll need bananas, sugar, booze, and your trusty blowtorch. As delicious as it is visually appealing, you’ll win dessert by lighting this one up (just don’t light yourself on fire in the process).

Macaroni and cheese melted
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Mac and cheese

OK, so technically you probably can’t cook mac and cheese entirely with a blowtorch, but you can totally give the top a good browning and make it gourmet if you’ve got a flame handy. Go the extra mile and make this cannabis-infused lobster mac and cheese.

Blue bowl of roasted brussels sprouts on a white kitchen counter.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Char Brussels sprouts

Want to change up the everyday Brussels sprouts and make them interesting? Use your kitchen blowtorch and turn your side from boring to char Brussels sprouts. After baking them in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper, use your blowtorch on them for the char look and taste. To make them even more unique, after torching them, serve them with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette or lemon juice, top them with crumbled bacon or feta cheese, or add them to a salad or pasta dish.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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