I’ve said it before, “the Food Network is the MTV of cooking.” MTV used to play music, now they’re entertainment about music. Food Network is entertainment about food. They don’t teach anyone to cook.

Last week, I was listening to my favorite band, The Gin Blossoms on my iPod while cooking with steam when someone reminded me of my cynical quote about MTV and Food TV. “Huh”? I said as I removed one ear-bud.

I must have missed the entire comment, but it gave me a great idea. If neither Food TV nor MTV are really doing their jobs, perhaps I should just combine the two. My “Food iPod” was born along with a new recipe for Steamed Tilapia and Shrimp Pinwheels.

While the music blares in my ears, I prepare two Tilapia filets by pounding them to a consistent thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. It’s important not to tear the fish as you’re pounding it because it will become the outer-layer of a rolled pinwheel. Tears in the fish mean holes in your finished product.

Once I’ve achieved a consistent ¼ inch thickness of the fish, I’ll prepare some peeled and deveined shrimp by cutting them in half lengthwise. Placing a sharp boning knife at the back vein cavity and pushing through the tail, I get two half-moon shaped pieces of shrimp.

Gin Blossoms sing “Don’t Change For Me” between my ears as I prepare a filling for the Tilapia pinwheels that we’ll be cooking with steam. I choose goat cheese, dill, salt, and white pepper for a filling, but any soft, spread able cheese is acceptable. I pat the cheese mixture onto the pounded filets and then add the shrimp halves.

The pinwheels are created by rolling the fish into a tube using the leverage of the plastic wrap to guide and create a tight roll. Refrigerate the fish for at least two hours, unwrap and cut into ½ inch slices to be added to our steamer.

I decide to add an extra layer of flavor by steaming the Tilapia and Shrimp Pinwheels in a shrimp stock. Once the flavorful liquid has reached a soft simmer and is creating steam, I place the fish log slices onto a rack suspended above the hot liquid. Close the lid to allow a convection of the steam, and remove when your thermometer reaches 160F/71C.

Cooking with steam is one of the safest, cleanest, and healthiest ways to cook. It’s especially useful with delicate products like fish and vegetables that will toughen and lose nutritional value if over cooked. This is a great basic cooking method to master, whether you use Tilapia or Flounder, and listen to opera or Gin Blossoms, you can invent many healthy recipes inspired by the music and flavors in your head.

You can see the Cooking with Steam and Gin Blossoms video

Author's Bio: 

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!