pan roasting: searing ingredients to create a crust and then finishing in the oven to cook to desired doneness
Pan roasting differs from oven roasting in that pan-roasted ingredients start on the stovetop using a burner’s direct heat to create a deep sear and then are transferred to an oven to finish cooking (as needed). Whereas oven roasting starts and finishes in the oven to create an all round crispy exterior through indirect heat, as opposed to a single, seared side.
- Heat a frying pan with a glug of neutral oil
- When oil is just about smoking, add the ingredients and season liberally
- Allow the ingredient to cook, developing a rich seared crust
- When the crust has developed flip the ingredient to sear the other side. A good hallmark for when to flip is if the food moves freely in the pan when nudged—indicating that the crust is fully formed and no longer stuck to the pan. If it doesn’t move easily, give it more time or be prepared to really get underneath the ingredient with conviction when flipping.
- When both sides are well seared, remove from the pan and eat. If the ingredient is thick and needs more time to cook, transfer with pan and all to a hot oven to finish cooking. Remember that the side of the ingredient touching the pan will continue to cook at a faster rate, so consider searing for slightly less time on the second side if planning to transfer to the oven.
Things to know
- You have more control with pan roasting than oven roasting. The direct heat focuses on the side of ingredient in the pan.
- Give the ingredients plenty of personal space. If they are heaped onto each other the moisture they give up will get caught and steam the veg as opposed to evaporating off to create a good sear.
- Use some fat in your cooking. Oil in the pan will get hotter than the pan on its own and its liquid nature will make for even cooking all around.
- Don’t fiddle! Let the ingredients cook. Time allows for the searing of proteins and caramelization of sugar—if you poke it and flip the ingredient incessantly, you will get food that shows its annoyance by breaking and cooking unevenly.
Hallmarks of Success
- Deep, golden crusts
- Food that cooks quickly and evenly
- Control over the amount of doneness—searing fish on a single side versus mushrooms cooked all over.
- If the seared side is burnt, the frying pan might not be thick enough to disperse heat evenly. Always use the heaviest bottomed pan you have.
- If the crust doesn’t develop, try cooking for longer without flipping or at a higher heat.