Heating skillet properly based on what is cooked

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Most of us know that we need to pay attention when cooking. But what happened before any food was involved? That is where the process is rushed or shortened. For example: heat up your frying pan.

Adrienne Cheatham, a chef at the New York Institute of Culinary Education, said this initial step is "one of the basic elements of cooking."

When and how to heat the frying pan will affect the quality of the food and the capacity of the equipment over time. Your strategy may vary, depending on the type of frying pan and the food being cooked. This is what you need to know to make the right decision.

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At the micro level, metal is not a naturally smooth surface. Cheatham compared it to mountains with peaks and valleys. These holes and cracks are where food may stick. Cheatham says the solution is to heat the pan, which will narrow these gaps before adding food to help create a smoother surface. In addition, food cooked with inadequately heated fat will turn white and moist instead of browning and crunchy.

The idea is to heat the pan even before adding fat, although I will introduce some exceptions below. "Heating the pot can reduce the time it takes for the fat to directly contact the molten iron, thereby minimizing the possibility of its deterioration. When the oil is heated, the oil will decompose, resulting in a decrease in flavor and the release of toxic chemicals," Samin Nosrat wrote in "Salt Fatty Acid Fever." Every fat has a smoking point. At this point, you have obviously gone too far due to the smoking and pungent smell.

For cast iron or other uncoated metals (such as stainless steel), it is easiest to heat an empty frying pan. What about non-stick pan? It depends on who you ask. "A non-stick coating made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), if heated to more than 500 degrees, may decompose and release harmful fumes. When the pot is heated empty or placed in the case of direct heating of broilers , This will happen very quickly," Cook's Illustrated suggested. To prevent the frying pan from reaching this point, the magazine recommends using the butter and oil in the frying pan as a leader. Since they will smoke between 350 and 400 degrees, you will know that the frying pan is too hot until you reach a risk of affecting the coating.

However, in some cases, the measurement manufacturer will provide you with different recommendations. Regarding the production line of non-stick pans, for example, All-Clad stated that "don't overheat empty cookware", and it is recommended not to use equipment higher than medium heat. Cafallon said: "For better cooking results, before adding butter or oil, please use the settings you [plan] to use during cooking to [heat] the pot." Lesson: Make sure to read the instructions for the specific equipment.

Do not heat an empty enameled cast iron pot on the top of the stove, as this will subject the glass-like coating to thermal shock (sudden temperature changes) and may cause it to crack. Le Creuset said: "Before heating, the liquid, grease, and butter of your choice should completely cover the base. Do not leave the pot unattended, and do not let the pot boil dry, as this may permanently damage the enamel. ”

Cheatham prefers to place empty frying pans on anything above medium heat. She said that at high temperatures, you might hit metal. There is also a risk of burning fat or food when the frying pan is exposed to excessive heat, especially fat or food in cast iron. Once the temperature rises, this is particularly effective in maintaining heat. Nosrat warns against the temptation to "significantly increase the heat" and points out that you may get a nice brown and crispy appearance on a piece of meat too quickly, leaving it raw or undercooked on the inside.

Cheatham likes to measure the heat of the frying pan by simply placing his hands above the surface. You may also need to go through trial and error to be sure that you can do this with confidence, but you can use other tips to identify the right time. Hisham said that when adding to the frying pan, look for the oil that makes the oil shimmer (for me, it's like water rippling on small rocks by the lake), maybe there is only a faint smoke, but nothing more. .

Or use your eyes and ears for a water drop test. Nosrat wrote: "If it cracks a little before it evaporates-it doesn't have to be a violent sound-the pot is ready." "In general, the clue that the pot and fat are hot enough is a faint sizzle when adding food. Sizzling. If you add food too early without the fizzing noise, just take the food out, let the pan heat up enough, and put it back in to make sure it doesn’t stick or overcook before it browns."

The biggest exception to the Nosrat heating rule is butter and garlic, both of which will burn if they are not heated gently. Cheatham explained that if butter hits a hot pan, the butter will immediately start to splash when the water cooks quickly (butter accounts for up to 18% of the water). In addition, the milk solids in butter will burn and turn black when overheated. Therefore, add butter to a cold frying pan, or heat it to less butter than when heated.

Roasting seeds or nuts is another time to pay attention to heating. I put those cold-dried frying pans on medium and low heat until they start to fragrant. If you listen carefully, you may also hear the oil in the seeds or nuts sizzling. Please pay attention because they can be baked from perfect to burnt.

Sometimes, you may also want to cook meat in a cold frying pan. Bacon is a good example. Allowing the bacon to gradually heat up will make the fat fatter, which will make the final result crispy. In a hot frying pan, you run the risk of immediately browning the outside and forming a crust to seal the fat and loosen the strips. Similarly, you can start peeling the chicken nuggets in a cold cook pan to help them increase fat and create a crispy appearance, as suggested by Cook's Country in several recipes.

For situations where you need to use deeper fat, such as a frying pan or frying pan, you should add oil to the frying pan or frying pan and then increase the temperature.

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