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Complete Guide to Pan Searing

So you’re having guests over for dinner, perhaps your neighbors? Maybe the in-laws? It doesn’t matter who but you know you want to win them over and impress them with an excellent culinary experience and your superb cooking skills. It’s time to dig into your vast repertoire and pick out something that makes you look like a pro—or at least capable.

Let’s make your next dinner party more memorable by introducing a simple but impactful technique with our complete guide to the perfect pan sear.

What is Pan Searing?
It’s a cooking technique that differs from sautéing and frying in a really good way. It’s not a complete method, it’s generally used either at the beginning of the end of a cook with a slower cooking method such as braising, roasting or even sautéing in between. You can sear meat and seafood in addition to vegetables to add texture as well as rich flavor.

In simple words, pan-searing is the process of cooking food over high heat with the intention of browning it and form a good crust. 

How to Success 
Step 1: To prepare your pan for searing, simply turn it on to medium-high heat and get it good and hot.
Step 2: Once it is up to temperature, add a small amount of your choice of oil or fat—it’s best to pick something that has a high smoke point to avoid off-gassing needles chemicals into the kitchen.
Step 3: Once your fat has also risen in temperature (be careful not to burn it, as well), add the food you want to sear whether it be a beautiful steak, pork chop, scallop or even some brussels sprouts.
Step 4: Now this is where the process gets challenging…. Don’t move it! You may want to flip it or stir it around but resist the urge to disturb the process. This is what’s going to develop caramelization.
Step 5:

Once you’re sure the crust has formed, go ahead and flip the food to start searing the other side and continue until there is a crust on each side or until you’re content with the doneness.

Once you’re happy with it, set it in the oven to roast until cooked to your desired doneness.
Pick the Right Tools
The materials you use are important regardless of what food items you’re going to sear. Because you need to achieve such high heat to caramelize the sugars, a heavy pan that retains heat well will work best—anything like stainless steel, hard-anodized aluminum or cast iron will work well.

If you want to know more about cookware materials, you can learn more here.

Cooking Tips
First thing to keep in mind when you’re trying to create the best sear is the moisture content of the food. If you’re cooking vegetables, start with raw rather than frozen. More moisture means more steam and less crust and that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.
Second, if the meat has been marinated, pat it dry before adding it to the pan to reduce moisture content.

Last, if the food item is crusted in spices that might burn, be cautious and turn down the heat as needed.