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Searing help needed!

RuthWells's picture

Okay, I tried to pan-sear salmon fillets last night for dinner (the recipe, from the Q&D issue, has you pan-sear the non-skin side, then finish the fillets in a hot hot oven).  I thought my pan was nice and hot, there was a light film of oil in the bottom... and yet, I didn't get a nice sear.  I got fish that cooked too quickly, and which stuck to the bottom of the pan.


What do I do differently next time?  More oil?  Hotter pan before putting the fish in?  Does it make a lot of difference whether the pan is hot before the oil goes in?


Thanks!


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

TracyK's picture

(post #28256, reply #1 of 25)

Does it make a lot of difference whether the pan is hot before the oil goes in?


Yep. Heat pan, add oil, heat oil, add food. :-)



"Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet."


Julia Child

RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #2 of 25)

Okay; how hot should the pan be before adding oil, and how hot should the oil be before adding food?  Like, just about to smoke, or a few ticks earlier?


<I'm a much better baker than cook!!!>


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

TracyK's picture

(post #28256, reply #3 of 25)

For searing of naked meat, I try to get the pan as hot as I can, then add the oil (which heats really fast), then toss in the food. This is why I keep my smoke detector covered up, LOL.


I don't generally do fish on the stovetop (it smells up the house too much, I usually just bake or roast it), so I'm not sure if the pan should be as hot or less hot for fish... I'm sure someone more knowledgable than me will be along shortly!



"Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet."


Julia Child

ashleyd's picture

(post #28256, reply #4 of 25)

I pan sear salmon just like that and it's hot enough when it's smokin'. It's ready when the smoke alarm goes off (unless I actually remember to close the connecting door). Know what you mean about cooking fish though, when I'm done I just close the the door into the dining room and leave the kitchen door wide to the outside for as long as it takes to clear.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
Voltaire

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #7 of 25)

Thanks Tracy, thanks Ashley.  Smokin' hot next time.


:)


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

gjander's picture

(post #28256, reply #8 of 25)

You might also make sure that you don't move the fish in the pan until it has had a chance to develop a good sear.  It will stick if you try moving it too early.


Gary


 

Astrid's picture

(post #28256, reply #9 of 25)

Watch the oil once you have put it into the heated pan, as soon as it starts to swirl and shimmer a little it is hot enough to sear, and it won't be so smoky. Keep the pan at this heat by adjusting your controls and cook. And as advised, wait until a slight crust has formed before you turn to avoid sticking. You can test by lifting just a corner of whatever you are searing to find if it sticks at all. If so, cook longer.


New Mexico home organic gardener

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson

New Mexico home organic gardener Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson
RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #11 of 25)

You can test by lifting just a corner of whatever you are searing to find if it sticks at all. If so, cook longer.


Advise that even I can follow.  Thanks, Astrid!


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #10 of 25)

It will stick if you try moving it too early.


Aha!  My fish certainly stuck!  So, wait until you can see evidence of searing around the bottom edge?  (Otherwise, how do you know how long to wait -- just from experience?)


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #28256, reply #12 of 25)

remember too, that the first side you put down in the pan should be your presentation side. if I am doing skin-on salmon (and when I pan sear salmon, it's always skin-on) it goes skin down on the hothothot pan. after I flip it, it goes into the oven to finish cooking.

~RuthAnn

~RuthAnn

RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #13 of 25)

Am I reading correctly that the skin side of the salmon is your presentation side?  That is the opposite of what I was attempting.


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Jean's picture

(post #28256, reply #14 of 25)

Then why not just bake or broil it?


Along the way take time to smell the flowers.

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #15 of 25)

What?  And give up before mastering a new skill?


; )


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Jean's picture

(post #28256, reply #17 of 25)

Oh! And here I thought it was about the fish. silly me ;-)

Along the way take time to smell the flowers.

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #18 of 25)

LOL!  We eat salmon pretty regularly, cooked all sorts of ways -- no, this is all about me learning new tricks!!


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Wolvie's picture

(post #28256, reply #24 of 25)

GJANDER's got you covered, Ruth. I second his recommendation.


The lemon adds that AP posted are on my list for this weekend. I sear both sides before finishing off in the oven. Depending on the thickness, it finishes in a 400 F oven in about 6 - 8 minutes after the searing.


Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time - Abe Lincoln.

 

RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #25 of 25)

Thanks, Wolvie.  I'll report back after I get a chance to try it again...


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

ashleyd's picture

(post #28256, reply #16 of 25)

Over many years I have been trying different ways to cook salmon steaks successfully (broil, bake open, bake wrapped, saute and assorted combinations) and nearly always the result was disappointing - edible but could be better. In the end the only way that suits me is to pan sear and I get a great result every time. I've enjoyed it cooked different ways by other people but I can never achieve it myself.


And my presentation is skin side down too (in fact we usually remove the skin just before serving).


"Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
Voltaire

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #28256, reply #19 of 25)

>>Am I reading correctly that the skin side of the salmon is your presentation side<<


for me, yes. we like crispy salmon skin.


~RuthAnn

~RuthAnn

TracyK's picture

(post #28256, reply #20 of 25)

I love crispy salmon skin! Salmon skin hand rolls are one of my favorite sushi creations.


"Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet."


Julia Child

APonKP's picture

(post #28256, reply #21 of 25)

Usually we are doing salmon over a wood fire, either outdoors or inside in the fireplace, but if using the stove I, like to sear first flesh side down in an iron skillet to get that wonderfully crisp, caramelized crust, like ashleyd, but then I move the skillet underneath a preheated broiler so that the skin gets very crisp as well.  I think I have mentioned this before.  Sorry to repeat myself, but I feel it is worth spreading around.  It is a technique of Lydie Marshall's.  Baking or just broiling just doesn't deliver as much flavor from a crust, and yet keep the flesh translucent inside.  (I'm talking wild salmon here.)  

Have I mentioned that a smear of preserved lemon syrup on the flesh is a great flavor for grilled (or broiled) salmon?  Then sprinkle with lemon thyme and lemon basil leaves, if you have any, or other herbs.   Or finely chop rosemary and sprinkle over the top before grilling or broiling.  Make some preserved lemons when lemons are in season this year.


One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne
ellengst's picture

(post #28256, reply #22 of 25)

That's making me hungry - even though I just ate lunch!

Ellen

Ellen
APonKP's picture

(post #28256, reply #23 of 25)

That is a real danger in reading CT!  Of course, I stay hungry. ;)

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne
KyleW's picture

(post #28256, reply #5 of 25)

I know my pan is hot enough to add the oil when a couple of drops of water dance and vaporize the instant they hit the pan.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness". D.Barry

 

At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.

RuthWells's picture

(post #28256, reply #6 of 25)

My water droplets were vaporizing, but weren't on the point of smoking.  I think next time I'll try a hotter pan! 


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...