“You learn to cook, so you don’t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and know what to do with it.”
I always recommend that people learn how to cook, not learn how to make recipes.
When you know how to pan-fry a chicken breast, you also know how to pan-fry a piece of steak, a duck breast, a pork chop, a part of fish, and so on. Of course, there will be variations in cooking times between ingredients, which comes through practice.
Since pan-frying (and pan-roasting) is my most commonly used technique for cooking, I’m a fan of this being the first one you learn and master.
There are a couple of things most people need to correct when cooking food in a pan on the stove. First, always preheat the pan. Never put cold ingredients in a hot pan.
Second, temper your ingredients and come to room temperature (especially steak). Third, season ingredients before putting them in the pan; halfway through cooking, add a bit to finish. That’s how you build flavor.
The Pan-Frying/Pan-Roasting Technique:
- Preheat pan to stove.
- Add cooking oil and coat pan (pastured butter, coconut/MCT oil, ghee, lard, tallow).
- Season both sides of the ingredient.
- Carefully place it into the pan away from you.
- Let cook and develop a “crust” (color = flavor).
- Flip. *If an item sticks, let it go a bit longer until you can shake the pan and it releases from the pan.
- Let the other side cook until the crust is formed.
- If an ingredient is cooked through, you can let it rest for a minute or two and serve. If a component needs more cooking, place the entire pan in the 350 ovens until finished.
Serve and enjoy.
This technique can be used to cook any ingredient. There are many nuances from component to element, which you will learn as you experiment with ingredients.
After you get the hang of this technique, learn how to make a pan sauce. These two techniques can change your life.
Start with chicken, then try steak and fish. Afterward, experiment with vegetables, sweet potatoes (cubed or sliced thin), squash, or whatever.
One tip is to use small dice or thinly sliced ingredients that will finish cooking through after a few minutes on each side. Again, this will come with experience and practice.
Get in the kitchen and start pan-frying!
Founder/CEO, Wild Foods