Happy #SeafoodSunday, Seafoodies!
For all those lucky recipients of holiday Seafoodie gifts, now’s the time to roll up your sleeves and start cooking! If you’re the proud new owner of an Air Fryer and wondering, “Now what?” you’ve come to the right place. Here are our eight top tips for getting the most out of your Air Fryer, whether you’re a newbie or veteran. Follow these basic guidelines, and you’ll be air-frying your way to delicious seafood in no time!
1. Give it some space. You can’t air-fry without the air! So, when you’re using your fryer, be sure to leave sufficient airflow around it—5 inches is a good rule of thumb. And don’t overcrowd the food in the basket! If you need more than a couple of servings, batch-cooking is the way to go.
2. Warm it up. Just like when you’re using an oven, preheating the Air Fryer works much better than starting cold. If your fryer doesn’t have a preheat setting, just run it for about 3 minutes before adding food.
3. A spritz of healthy oil. The fryer needs only air, but a little oil will give your food a crispier texture. It’s important to use real oil in a spray bottle or mister rather than an aerosol cooking spray, which can damage the nonstick coating on your basket. A little oil goes a long way, so a quick misting before you start cooking and once halfway through cooking should do it. And don’t forget to grease the basket before you get started, so your food doesn’t stick.
4. Use a dry coating. The hot air in your fryer causes a wind-tunnel effect, so use a drier coating on your food rather than a wet batter to avoid a mess. Firmly press down on the breading with your hands to make it stick well.
5. Get a crispy texture. To ensure even browning, turn items or shake the basket at least once during cooking. And if you’re preparing a higher-fat item that might drip oil, you can prevent smoking by adding water or a piece of bread to the drawer under the basket.
6. Quick clean up . One of the huge benefits of an Air Fryer is the easy cleanup! Let your fryer cool at least 30 minutes before you start cleaning. Wipe the exterior with a damp cloth, then use nonabrasive cleaners—a soft toothbrush, microfiber cloth and baking soda—for the basket and pans. You can soak the removable parts in liquid dish detergent to remove any stubborn grease or other residue. If your fryer is smelling less than fresh, try putting a cut lemon in the basket for a half-hour. Cleanup bonus: most baskets and pans are dishwasher-safe!
7. Redefine “fry.” If you’re using the Air Fryer just to recreate healthier versions of your favorite deep-fried foods, you’re missing out! In fact, Air Fryers are great for reheating leftover foods such as shrimp pizza and fish sticks, keeping them crisper than if you reheated them in the microwave. And they can be used to make some baked goods, such as crab muffins, giving them a golden-brown crust. Smaller baked items tend to work better than larger ones.
8. Accessorize wisely. While you can use your Air Fryer as-is, there are several accessories that will make air-frying more productive and enjoyable. Silicone-tipped tongs—essential for turning items without burning yourself or damaging the nonstick basket coating—are one of the first purchases you should consider. We also highly recommend investing in a quality oil mister to ensure a golden-brown crust on breaded favorites such as calamari and coconut shrimp. Pie-weight chains hold lightweight items down so they don’t fly around, and parchment-paper basket liners can make cleanup easier. If you prefer one-stop shopping, you can purchase an accessory kit compatible with your specific Air Fryer, including baking pans and a grill rack.
9. Get inspired! At the end of the day, it’s all about the food. So, now that you’ve read these pro tips, find some tempting recipes and dive into the air-frying world! There are thousands of Air Fryer cookbooks on the market and even more free recipe resources online (hint, hint). Are you hungry for some chili-lime cod or Cajun scallops? Here are a few of our best Dish on Fish Air Fryer recipes to get you started!
For more recipe inspiration, download the 2020 Dish on Fish ECookbook today.