How To Cook Protein In A Pan – Developing A Beautiful Crust

I freaking love a crust on my protein…and you probably do also

This is my favorite technique for cooking protein.  It’s simple and allows you to control the doneness of your protein more accurately than a roast or braise.

Go from raw to edible in 10 minutes for mostly any cut of protein and fish.

How To Cook Protein In A Pan Technique:

Step 1: Let protein come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes

Cold protein does not cook evenly and needs to be brought down to room temperature.

This simple tip can make a big difference in achieving proper doneness and texture with your proteins.  You will notice a HUGE difference the first few recipes you try this.

Make sure protein is dry by patting it down with paper towels.

Step 2: Season protein with salt and pepper

Use proper seasoning technique

cook protein

Step 3: Preheat pan over medium.  Add oil after few minutes

You can test the heat by holding your hand a few inches over the pan. You should be able to feel the heat quickly.  If you don’t give it another minute or two.

Next, add the oil.  Once the oil starts smoking it is time to add the protein to the pan.

*If it starts smoking too much and/or sets off your smoke detector remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down.  When the smoking calms down you can return the pan to the burner.

This step can be the difference between a properly seared piece of protein and one that is opaque and tasteless.

You see it all the time with amateur cooks: a piece of light brownish-green steak that looks like rubber.  What did they do wrong?  They didn’t perform Step 1-3.

Make step 1-3 natural to you and your proteins will develop deep brown color that screams “EAT ME”.

Step 3: Add protein to pan and cook 2-5 minutes until crust forms and protein frees itself easily

Do not pry or pull the protein from the pan, simply shake then pan and wait until then protein slides free.  It will slide away from the pan easily when it is done.  If it is still sticking you just need to give it more time, be patient.

I like to cook most proteins on medium heat because it gives the protein enough time to develop a crust without burning.

cook protein

Step 4: Flip and repeat step 3

Step 5: Remove from pan, cover with foil, and let protein rest

Red meat has longer rest times than white meat so be sure to check your recipe.  You should also google proper rest times for the specific animal and type of cut.  Generally the larger the piece of meat the more rest that is needed.

You can rest protein on a heated plate or in a oven on the ‘warm’ setting but remember that when you rest protein, especially in a heated environment, there will be carry-over cooking and will keep cooking the meat a few degrees.

If you are trying to get that perfect medium-rare steak than I suggest you take it off the pan when it is almost at the right temperate and let carry-over cook it the rest of the way.

cook protein

Step 6: Eat!

You can use this technique with any protein. Enjoy!

For thicker cuts of meat: pan-sear on stove top and finish in a 350 degree oven.  I would invest in a [simpleazon-link asin=”B000P6FLOY” locale=”us”]Probe Thermometer[/simpleazon-link] and use it to cook your proteins to exactly perfect doneness.

For testing doneness: use a small knife to cut a small slit in protein and check for  color.

Practice, Practice, Practice

This is my go-to technique for cooking protein because it’s fast, easy, and I’m good at it.  You have to practice!  You will probably screw up a few chicken breasts and overcook a couple steaks before you start to get it down, but once you do it could possibly change your life.

You have just shed the shackles of being inadequate in the kitchen.  This single technique can provide you with meals for the rest of your life.

Pan searing is a gateway technique because as you get good at it you are gonna wanna cook even more. It will open your eyes to the endless possibilities of your food…

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” -George Bernard Shaw

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