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Old 08-31-2007, 03:28 PM   #1
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Preheated pan, or cold pan?

Hey everyone, do you generally heat your frying pan up before putting in EVOO (and then, say garlic and shallots), or do you put the EVOO in a cold pan and then turn on the heat (or do you put the EVOO AND garlic/shallots in the cold pan to heat up)?

Not thinking of a particular recipe, per se....maybe a stirfry...or even a tomato sauce or a bean dish...Just trying to get the basics down

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Old 08-31-2007, 03:30 PM   #2
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Hot pan + cold oil = foods don't stick.

Heat up your pan, add your oil then let it heat up, then add your foods.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:35 PM   #3
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Most of the time I preheat the pan. In the scenario of infusing garlic into oil, I start with a cold pan and oil, then barely warm the oil and garlic.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:56 PM   #4
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I was always taught the way Kitchelf said. Hot pan, cold oil, let the oil heat and then you are ready. America's Test kitchen though says the opposite. They say to put cold oil in a cold pan and let them heat together. Their reasoning is that you can watch the oil and see when it goes from being thick and sort of sticky (when it is cold) to shimmering and very watery (when it is hot) so you will know exactly when the oil is hot enough.

The food will not know the difference. The key is that the oil needs to be hot before the food goes in.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:25 PM   #5
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It depends on the pan. I never EVER heat a nonstick pan without oil already in it. Even tho it's mainly because I have a pet Cockatoo & nonstick pans give off bird-fatal toxic substances when heated empty, I also figure that those same toxic fumes probably aren't going to do me any good either.

However, when it comes to my cast-iron pans & my wok, I definitely heat them first & then add the oil.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:36 PM   #6
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America's Test kitchen says
What do they know?!


I'm with Uncle Bob.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:46 PM   #7
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Do it either way as long as both the pan and the oil are hot before adding food.
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:42 PM   #8
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Do it either way as long as both the pan and the oil are hot before adding food.
Exactly. If you're pan searing or sauteeing something, as long as the oil is smoking before you add the food to the pan, it won't stick. The smoke from the oil is your visual key as to when the oil is at a proper temperature. Also, don't make the two mistakes that most homecooks make. The first is to not add enough oil. You want a thin coating of oil in the pan without having to really move the pan all around a lot to stretch and distribute the oil. You need enough fat to prevent sticking. The second is to freak out and start moving around the food as soon as you add it to the pan and it sticks. Once the surface of the food browns properly, it will release from the pan on its own.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:22 PM   #9
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Exactly. If you're pan searing or sauteeing something, as long as the oil is smoking before you add the food to the pan, it won't stick. The smoke from the oil is your visual key as to when the oil is at a proper temperature. Also, don't make the two mistakes that most homecooks make. The first is to not add enough oil. You want a thin coating of oil in the pan without having to really move the pan all around a lot to stretch and distribute the oil. You need enough fat to prevent sticking. The second is to freak out and start moving around the food as soon as you add it to the pan and it sticks. Once the surface of the food browns properly, it will release from the pan on its own.
Thanks IC. Your explanation is very clear. Yep, I had been using way too little oil because of all the stuff I've read about reducing fats and oils in your diet. I never could figure out how much was too much. And the release thing was something I didn't know til recently, but it's true. Now I'm using a timer and I don't screw around with the food til it's released on it's own. Makes a huge difference.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Fisher's Mom View Post
Thanks IC. Your explanation is very clear. Yep, I had been using way too little oil because of all the stuff I've read about reducing fats and oils in your diet. I never could figure out how much was too much. And the release thing was something I didn't know til recently, but it's true. Now I'm using a timer and I don't screw around with the food til it's released on it's own. Makes a huge difference.
So, did the panís grab and release on your steaks during the sear turn out? Could you tell the difference and what was happening between the meat and the pan? Neat isnít it??
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