This is my go to dinner cooking method. Heat the pan, squirt in some oil and wait until just smoking. Season your cut of meat and color on both sides. Throw the pan in a pre-heated oven and finish until perfect. Very simple and it always comes out perfect.
What is sauteing you ask? It is a quick/high heat cooking method using a small amount of oil. This is the part that always got me. What is a small amount of oil? Just covering the bottom of the pan? Half way up the side? I don’t want to use too much. What happens if I use too little? It’s too much to handle! I’ve got oil on the handle! I’m ordering Pizza!
Ok, ok. This is how I’m doing it.
1. Heat the pan. Usually a frying pan (It’s funny actually. I usually don’t fry in a frying pan: I saute. And, I don’t saute in a saute pan: I pan fry. This is just one example of many on how you can use your own judgment when paying attention to labels.)
2. Add the oil. I had found that I was using too little oil and things were burning. On one occasion I used too much and all of sudden I was pan frying. So, you want to completely cover the bottom of the pan, but not have the oil come up more than a quarter of the way up the piece (or pieces) of food. Don’t be afraid to play around with it if you feel like it’s too much. Just be careful handling any hot oil.
3. Season the food item. We’re just going to deal with Salt and Pepper here. I usually season red meat and chicken right before it goes into the pan; however, I season fish and shellfish well before they go in the pan (like 15 min or so, b/c it draws any excess moisture.)
4. Add the item to the hot pan. We are looking for a nice golden brown color on the first side. Ok, check. Now flip. Same for the other side. What if I don’t like things super golden brown you ask? Well then, flip the food item before it gets too dark and repeat on the other side.
5. Put the pan in a preheated oven. Mine says 350 (I say ‘says’ because my thermometer reads 400; however, I have been known to cook oven thermometers so who knows). Flip once after 5 minutes.
6. Cook on the second side until the meat is done. What is done? I am looking for firmness similar to what the muscle under your thumb feels like when you touch your thumb to your ring finger (this is for chicken). Like this.
Not sure what that is exactly? You can always use the thermometer. I’ll get a chart with recommended temps on here soon.
7. The most important part. Rest. It would be a damn shame to cook your meat perfectly and then slice it just as it comes out of the pan and have all the juices run out. Let it rest for at least half of the total cooking time for up to one half hour (usually big roasts). It will stay hot. And don’t cover it. You have worked hard on creating a crust on your meat.
*Note: you don’t rest fish
8. Slice across the grain and serve.
That’s pretty much it. We can cover pan sauces at a later date.