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Old 09-22-2008, 12:15 PM   #1
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Pan Roasting

I have tried my hand at the technique of pan roasting several times, generally with chicken or fish, however I can't ever seem to get an adequate sear/browning on the final product. Things also tend to mercilessly stick to my pan.

I am using a stainless steel (i.e. NOT nonstick) saute pan. Very nice pan with a heavy bottom, very even heat distribution.

I tend to pan-roast over medium to medium-high heat and I start with a mixture of oil and butter.

How can I improve my browning/caramelization? Is the solution to turn the heat all the way up? I'm worried that will produce way too much smoke (I have a weaksauce vent hood, it's built in to my microwave).

Thanks in advance

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Old 09-22-2008, 12:28 PM   #2
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You do need a nice hot pan. A problem could be that you are putting too much meat into the pan at one time. When you put cold or room temperature meat into a hot pan, the pan temperature drops. Too much cold meat and the pan temp can;t reciover fast enough to brown the meat. Crowding the pan will make the food steam rather than brown. Individual pieces of chicken (for example) should have at least an inch of space between the pieces.

That being said, once the pieces of meat are in the pan, leave them untouched for several minutes (3-4) before trying to move them. Meat/fish will stick initially but will release on its own if left undisturbed. It's difficult to resist temptation but don't move them around, this movement prevents/slows browning.

Once side one is brown, turn the pieces over and repeat the process. After a couple of minutes, move the whole pan into the oven to finish.

When the meat is done, remove it to a plate and cover with foil while you make a pan sauce with the drippings.
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:30 PM   #3
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You need to use just straight oil in the initial sear. You can't sear starting off with butter unless it's clarified because the butter solids will burn before the butter is at a temperature where you can sear it. Doing a combo of oil/butter doesn't make a difference. That's also why your food sticks: the pan and fat is too cold. Heat the oil on high until smoking. Add the protein to the pan and then gently press down for a few seconds. After about 30 seconds or so, then turn the heat down to about medium high and don't move or flip the protein until it's caramelized. You should be able to tell by the edges. So yeah, you do need to turn the heat up.

Once you get a nice color on the first side and you turn it over, after the second side cooks for a minute or so, THEN add some butter to the pan and baste the protein. It will get more color and pick up flavor from the butter. Then pour out the fat from the pan or transfer the protein to another pan and finish in the oven.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:00 PM   #4
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To add to what IC posted: Sometimes I'll completely cook the meat on the stove top and not finish in the oven. To do this, I sear the meat on high heat with oil. After I get nice color, I turn the heat down on the pan to medium or so. Then add more oil if needed and butter. I'll also add fresh herbs at this point and re check the seasoning. I tip the pan down so the fat is being heated directly on the burner and the meat is away from direct heat. Baste over medium heat until finished.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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Wow, awesome advice, and FAST.

Thanks!


So no one thinks I need to use a nonstick skillet instead of my stainless steel?
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:15 PM   #6
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That was good, fast advice.

I was watching a RR episode where she was browning cubed potatoes in a non-stick pan. She said the trick to getting them to brown was not to flip them too quickly. With SS you know not to flip too quickly or the food won't have released yet.
I just thought I'd mention that
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrazenAmateur View Post
So no one thinks I need to use a nonstick skillet instead of my stainless steel?
No. Let the meat release on its own.
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