So we're agreed that we like to sear meat before cooking it! So how, exactly, do we go about getting this nice sear?
First of all, make sure your pan is hot. Add a few teaspoons of vegetable oil (which has a higher smoke point) to a pan set over high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer and smoke just slightly, you're ready to add the meat.
More tips after the jump!
Use a thin coating of oil. When searing, the oil is less of a cooking medium and more of a way to get uniform surface contact between the meat and the pan. This will give you a nice, even caramelization and prevent some spots from burning while other spots are still pale. As it's heating, swirl the oil around to get a thin coating over the bottom of the pan.
Don't crowd the pan. If you're cooking one large piece of meat, make sure to use a pan large enough to hold it. If you're cooking smaller pieces of meat, like for a stew, leave a few inches of space between the pieces of meat. This also ensures even cooking and prevents crowded meat from steaming instead of searing.
Resist the temptation to fuss. Once you've put the meat in the pan, let it be. We know how tempting it is to take a peak under the meat or move things around like we do for a saute, but try to resist! After a few minutes, shake the pan. If the meat releases from the pan, it's ready to be flipped to another side.
Once you've seared all sides of the meat, you're ready to transfer the meat to your braise, put it in the oven to roast, or continue with whatever cooking method your dish calls for.
Anyone else have any good tips or tricks for searing meat?
(Image Credit: MyRecipes.com)