Several precautions should be observed if you cook fish and shellfish in a compartment steamer.
1. Watch the cooking time carefully. Fish cooks quickly, especially in the high heat of a steamer, and is easily overcooked.
Note the following three variations represented by the recipes in this section.
1. The product is cooked for a few minutes in fat over low heat, along with mirepoix or onion, to begin extracting juices. A little liquid is then added, the pot is covered, and the item is cooked. Example: Fisherman's Stew.
2. The product is sautéed over high heat. Then other ingredients and liquids are added and the item is cooked, covered, over low heat. Examples: Lobster à l'Americaine and Fricassée of Lobster.
3. The product is simply placed in a pot with liquids and flavoring ingredients. The pot is covered, and the item is steamed or simmered. Example: Moules Marinière.
2. Avoid pressure-steaming fish and shellfish, if possible. The high temperatures toughen fish protein very quickly. Such items as lobster tails can become rubbery.
3. Use solid pans to retain juices, and use the juices for sauces and soups.
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