Perhaps you’ve heard that aluminum leaches at high heat and so using it to cook in an oven would hurt your health or even induce Alzheimer’s disease. Or, you’ve tried using tin foil to cook and it melted onto your oven floor. Now, you’re asking yourself: should you even wrap your next salmon steak in foil?
The short answer is: you probably shouldn’t. Read on why.
Note: I have actually converted to using a toaster oven instead of a wall oven all the time. It heats up quicker, does not heat up the house, and uses less power. Some are large enough to fit a turkey.
Is Aluminum Foil Actually Useful?
Yes, and many famous chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay use it to great culinary results.
Aluminum is a fantastic heat conductor if in direct contact, but a shiny surface can be insulation if not in direct contact. This makes foil very useful in many situations, whether keeping something warm by tenting it, keeping something from burning by tenting it in the oven (both insulation), or by lining a pan with it where its direct contact and high conductivity let it be without slowing down cooking.
Is it Dangerous at all?
Unfortunately, it seems to be less than beneficial. The actual effects of this on the human body are still disputed, but chemically the aluminum may leach into the food if acids (anything with tomato or citrus) are present and high heat is applied.
There is still room for debate, but personally, I’d advise you to avoid combining foil and acids – for example, baking fish with lemon.
So What to do?
A few things.
- Know when to use aluminum foil. Sometimes – like in the case discussed above – it may be dangerous. Sometimes – for example, with moist meats like lamb – it may not be necessary.
- I really recommend using Silpats whenever you can. They are reusable, eco-friendly, and sturdy. You’ll never need to go back to aluminum.
What About Foil on the Wall Oven Floor?
- Even while it seems like a good idea, don’t ever use aluminum foil on the floor of a wall oven. The foil reflects or traps the heat and will damage at least the enamel finish. Wall oven manuals specifically prohibit this.
- If it’s already stuck to your wall oven, try using Easy Off. If it doesn’t help, try steam cleaning by putting a shallow pan of water in the oven for 30 minutes or so to loosen it.
- As a last resort, try putting toilet cleaner on the spots, let it sit for a day, and then wipe it off (it should dissolve the aluminum). Source.
- If all else fails, you may need to replace the metal plate. Or just forget about it.
Hope this was helpful!