How confident are you when you place a piece of meat, fish, or poultry into a skillet? Does that steak sometimes sick? Do the scallops fail to brown? Here is a video with some browning (searing) tips and tricks.
YouTube link: Browning Meat
Here are some questions I frequently get in class about browning in a skillet.
What type of skillet do you use?
My go to skillet for searing is a good stainless steel one. It browns beautifully and leave you brown bits to make a pan sauce. The only exception to this is searing fin fish. Only the firmest fish (tuna, swordfish, shark, and marlin) can be seared in a stainless steel skillet. Other fish will stick. In that case, use a well seasoned cast iron skillet or a teflon one. Scallops, shrimp and seafood will be fine in a stainless steel skillet. Here is my post on pots and pans that includes my favorite brands and sizes.
How do you wash a stainless steel skillet? It always takes me forever to scrub everything off.
Boil water in the skillet for 5 minutes. Pour out the water and wash while the skillet is still pretty hot. If all else fails, try Bar Keeper's Friend. Works like a charm for stainless cookware. Here is a video on how to wash a stainless skillet.
What type of oil do you use?
I use canola because the smoke temperature is a little higher than olive oil. You can use whatever you like (grapeseed, olive, peanut). If you want to produce faster browning on lean proteins, try using 3 parts oil to 1 part butter combo. The milk solids in the butter will brown quickly giving you beautiful color and flavor on things like scallops and halibut.
What salt do you use?
Diamond Crystal Kosher.
What proportion of salt to pepper do you use?
I use about 5 parts salt to 1 part pepper, but you can do whatever you like. Just keep in mind that you want way more salt than pepper.
Can you achieve good browning on electric stove?
Yes, you can achieve good browning on any stove. What's much more important is the quality of your skillet. Just make sure to preheat your skillet long enough so that the meat sizzles at first contact. If you are working on electric stove and need to lower the heat, you might need to move the skillet off the burner temporarily to avoid burning.
What was that about not washing chicken and any other proteins? Isn't it dangerous?
No. It's actually safer. Even USDA recommends you don't wash proteins.
What stunning dish should you make this holiday season to practice this technique?
How about this rack of lamb
or a perfect steak
If meat is not your thing, the seared tuna with pomegranate topping is a fun and festive dish.
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