Non-Stick Cooking without Non-Stick Pans
Andy Anderson !
Well, let’s talk about that a bit.
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This happens with all kinds of foods… especially fish. Do I really need to purchase a non-stick pan? In my opinion, the answer to that is no.
1. They don’t perform well under high-heat cooking.
2. They don’t develop fonds; which is essential to developing a good pan sauce.
3. I’m not all that sure I like the chemicals used in make non-stick cookware.
4. You don’t need a non-stick pan to do non-stick cooking.
That’s right, food is glue. When you have foods (like meat and fish) that are high in protein, they will have a tendency to stick to the pan. Well, what do you expect; glue is made up of proteins.
As those proteins in the cooking process begin to slowly unravel (denature), they will stick to whatever surface they are against.
So, what do we need to do, to keep meats and fish from sticking? Well, I’m glad you asked that question.
1. A nice clean pan, but not a non-stick pan
2. Medium-high heat
3. Dry meat or fish
4. A light application of oil
Get the pan hot (about 325f). To tell if the pan is hot enough, place a drop of water into the pan, and if it dances about and evaporates in a matter of seconds; it’s hot enough.
Get your meat or fish as dry as possible. Remember oil and water do not mix. Dry the food off, and then apply any seasonings that you want (salt, pepper, etc).
Add a bit of oil to the pan, but not a lot, we’re sautéing the food, not deep fat frying.
When the oil begins to shimmer add the meat/fish to the pan.
Don’t play with your food… that’s what Mom always used to say, and in this case it’s very true… Leave it alone.
After the first three minutes or so, try and lift up the food with a spatula. If it releases easily, then gently turn the food. If not, give it about another 30 seconds and try again. Do not force it. You shouldn’t have to scrape the pan with the spatula.
Here’s the secret, after the proteins begin to brown, they will release from the pan. If you try too soon, then you still have glue.
Well, there you go… A famous TV chef once said that if you have to do non-stick cooking with non-stick cookware… You don’t know how to cook.