The most common dry-heat cooking methods are baking and grilling.

Baking is a dry-heat cooking method that involves surrounding food with hot, dry air in an oven at a temperature between 140 and 250°C. Oil is often added to the baking dish and brushed on the food to retain moisture.

Note: Roasting is similar to baking. Roasted food is cooked in an oven between temperatures of 180 and 230°C and basted frequently. Basting is not typically required for seafood, so baking is used more commonly.

Seafood Tip: for a very healthy way to prepare seafood with little smell try cooking "en papillote" - see below.


  • An oven and a suitable baking dish; a kettle barbecue can also be used
  • baking paper and a flat tray if cooking "en papillote" (French pronunciation - French for "in parchment", or "al cartoccio" in Italian), is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from folded parchment paper, but other material, such as a paper bag or aluminium foil, may be used.

How to do it


  1. Season the seafood—avoid adding salt, as this tends to draw out the moisture.
  2. Score gilled and gutted finfish or thick fillets to ensure even cooking; make two or three diagonal cuts across the thickest parts on both sides.
  3. Stuff gilled and gutted finfish or rolled fillets.
  4. Place seafood in a single layer in an oiled baking dish and brush the top of the seafood with oil. Fillets should be skin side up to protect the flesh and assist natural basting (see "Tips" below). Oily finfish can be brushed with lemon juice. Alternatively, gilled and gutted finfish or fillets can be wrapped in foil or placed in an oven bag. The foil should be lightly greased and the fish can be seasoned by adding herbs or lemon juice.
  5. Cook in a pre-heated oven. The heat should be moderate (140–250°C). Large finfish are best cooked at the lower temperature.

Cooking times

These will vary considerably depending on the species, thickness, quantity and initial temperature of the seafood, and on the equipment. The times suggested below are a general guide only.


Approximate cooking times for steaming

Gilled and gutted whole finfish

3kg red emperor

45–60 minutes

Finfish fillets

3 cm thick
2 cm thick
1 cm thick

15 minutes
11 minutes
8 minutes



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