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Heating pan or heating pan and oil together?

 
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Biogeek
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:15 am    Post subject: Heating pan or heating pan and oil together? Reply with quote

I've noticed that in some recipes, they recommend heating the pan first before adding the oil and making sure its hot enough before you add the food. Other times, they recommend heating the pan and the oil together. Is there a difference between the two, and when would you do the former vs. the latter?
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SirSpice



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 95

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know for sure, but when you are browning meat or stir frying, the pan needs to be very hot, so hot that it may cause the oil to reach its smoke point if you just start the two togheter. If you're searing meat, you'll usually put the oil in and than immediatly the meat you are trying to brown.

If you're just sauteing than you can put the oil in anytime you want.

Than again, heating a pan empty on the stovetop is less worrisome than leaving a pan with oil on the stovetop.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 352
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating pan or heating pan and oil together? Reply with quote

Biogeek wrote:
I've noticed that in some recipes, they recommend heating the pan first before adding the oil and making sure its hot enough before you add the food. Other times, they recommend heating the pan and the oil together. Is there a difference between the two, and when would you do the former vs. the latter?


We need some fancy trained cook to chime in. One concern can by the type of pan being used. A cast iron cooking surface would need to be heated first so the food won't stick. But if you're using a tin lined (tin gots a lowish melting point and preheating will ruin lining )solid copper fry pan, it's cold pan and cold oil to start.

Hmmm, questions, questions.

Biggles
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IndyRob



Joined: 17 Dec 2006
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to Alton Brown, under the heading "Building the Perfect Saute"...

"Add the oil only after the pan is hot."

He doesn't elaborate, but I can't see why it would be a good idea to abuse the oil any longer than need be. If you're cooking well below the smoke point, I don't see why it would hurt, but I don't see how it would help either.

I can only think of three reasons to possibly put the oil in first:

1) You're trying to monitor closely the state of the fat (say, butter that you need to get precisely to the foaming point and aren't - like me - experienced enough to just do it). Slowing the process down could help.

2) You're trying to slow things down for another reason. Maybe you're using frozen chopped onions that you're meant to thaw in the oil while the oil heats.

3) You're following a recipe exactly. If the recipe says "do 'this' for two minutes", it will make a probably make a difference if you don't.
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juju
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject: Heating pan or heating pan and oil together? Reply with quote

I am a cook. I always add the oil after I have started heating the pot so that my oil heats faster. Besides, what chef fills their pot with oil and then turns it on? Laughing Out Loud Teasing Cool
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McDee



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way my chef instructors put it:

If you heat the pan alone, you can finish your prep while it's heating. A clean pan can pre-heat pretty much indefinitely. Once you add the oil, you are committed to the pan.

Over the last 18 months, I have seen too many students disregard this advice and end up smoking out a kitchen which has the equivalent of a 747 exhaust blower while they run over to pick up the tongs they forgot they'd need.

I use this at home, mostly because I wait until I'm hungry before I start cooking and my tendency is to try to rush the process, meaning I don't let the pan get hot enough for a good sear.

Put the pan on (a bit lower than your final cooking temp) while you finalize your prep and ensure you have everything together. Turn it up to temp and add the oil when you are ready to be committed to the process.
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