Put Aluminum Foil to Work for You

by Jane Wangersky | August 8th, 2014 | Cooking Basics

file0001869934811No doubt you’ve got a roll of aluminum foil in your kitchen. Maybe you use it every day, maybe only once in awhile. Either way, you could probably be using it more often — I know I could — and saving yourself a lot of work.

Of course, there are the obvious uses for foil — putting it over something you’re supposed to “bake, covered” if the pan you’re using doesn’t have a lid, doing the same on lidless containers in the fridge, as we used to do back in the days when plastic wrap was new and weird and used only by trendies, wrapping baking potatoes in it, though you can buy prewrapped potatoes now if you’re that tired. What else? Well . . .

Foil can save a baked or roasted dish that’s browning before it’s cooked through. It can be a silver tent over a whole turkey or a narrow collar around the rim of a pie crust, or anything in between — foil will hold the heat in without letting it directly hit the surface of the food.

It’s also good for wrapping up those foods that recipes tell you to “keep warm” though they never tell you how.

You can line a baking sheet with foil, leaving it clean throughout the cooking (unless your food is messy enough to leak through, in which case, oh well). In a pinch a sheet of foil can even substitute for a pan, as long as your food is large and firm enough not to fall through the oven rack. It works even better under the broiler, for example in roasting peppers.

You’ve probably wrapped a loaf of bread in foil to warm it in the oven. You can take that a step further by splitting the loaf and putting in sandwich fillings like cheese or thinly sliced meat, then wrapping and heating. If everyone likes a different filling, do this with individual rolls and use the ends of the foil wrap to form initials so you know which is whose.

Then there are the really amazing things you can do with foil, but probably won’t have any reason to — shape it into a pot that will not only hold water, but can be used to boil it, or turn a forked stick into a frying pan, or just make yourself a drinking cup. It’s good to keep these in the back of your mind, just in case.

Foil can do a lot; you can put it to work today.

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