Searing is the process of browning food. It gives meat a browned crust or skin, which looks and tastes great, and helps the meat retain its juices. Searing is not intended to fully cook food so it’s usually the first step in a recipe. To sear properly, you’ll need a hot, lightly-oiled pan, dry food and patience.
Add a thin coat of oil to a large saute pan. Heat the oil just until it shimmers. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Wet food in hot oil will cause the oil to pop and spatter. Place the meat in the pan and leave it alone while it browns. (This is where the patience comes in.) Food will not brown if you move it constantly.
Once browned, flip the meat — if it sticks, it’s not ready. When it’s brown on all sides, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
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