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Continued: A lesson in pan searing

  • Article by: JAMES P. DEWAN , Chicago Tribune
  • Last update: April 30, 2014 - 1:19 PM

Once again, what’s “done”? Well, here’s where that practice comes in. A good indication of doneness is touch. Raw meat is spongy. The more it cooks, the more the proteins tighten up and the firmer it becomes. Make a point, whenever you cook protein, to poke it and poke it some more. Feel the changes as it cooks. Insert an instant-read thermometer frequently to make the connection between internal temperature and firmness. Take notes. You’ll get it.

One last thing: It’s true that, instead of flipping proteins only once, flipping them every 30 to 60 seconds throughout cooking can result in more even doneness with reduced cooking time.

Personally, I find the constant flipping somewhat bothersome and the results are not better enough to warrant the annoyance. If you want to try it, though, feel free. And take lots of notes.





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  • Pan searing produces meat with a golden-brown crust that’s perfectly cooked inside. Start with enough oil or clarified butter in a pan to just cover the bottom. Place the meat in the hot oil and begin cooking. Flip the meat after one side reaches the desired doneness.

  • Pan searing meat produces a lipsmacking, golden brown crust surrounding a perfectly cooked inside. Start with enough oil or clarified butter in a pan to just cover the bottom. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1152135

  • Pan searing meat produces a lipsmacking, golden brown crust surrounding a perfectly cooked inside. Place meat in the hot oil and begin cooking. Unfortunately there is not set time on when to turn or how long to cook. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1152135

  • Pan searing meat produces a lipsmacking, golden brown crust surrounding a perfectly cooked inside. Flip the meat after one side reaches the desired doneness. Unfortunately there is not set time on when to turn or how long to cook. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1152135

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