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How to pan fry

Pan-frying or shallow frying is a fast cooking method for small, tender cuts in a pan containing a small quantity of hot fat, oil, butter, or clarified butter. It’s similar to sautéing but requires more fat and often lower temperatures. Pan-fried foods embody appealing qualities―crisp coatings, browned surfaces, and tender interiors.

Pan-frying or shallow frying is a fast cooking method for small, tender cuts in a pan containing a small quantity of hot fat, oil, butter, or clarified butter. It’s similar to sautéing but requires more fat and often lower temperatures. Pan-fried foods embody appealing qualities―crisp coatings, browned surfaces, and tender interiors.

How to pan fry

  1. Trim any excess fat from meat and brush with oil and season, or marinate.
  2. Preheat a heavy-based frying pan. It should be piping hot causing the meat to sizzle as it makes contact.
  3. Let the meat cook on one side until moisture appears, then turn once using the time estimates below (this will vary slightly depending on the thickness of the meat).
  4. Rest for 5-10 minutes in a warm place before serving.

Tips for top results

Ensure meat is of even thickness:

This is important to ensure even cooking. If pounding out meat to achieve this, cover meat with plastic wrap to prevent the mallet sticking to it.

Pat meat dry before cooking:

Wet meat will not brown well. Drain marinated meat well before pan frying then blot dry with paper towels.

Don't overcrowd the pan:

Adding too many steaks to the pan will reduce the temperature, causing the meat to stew rather than brown.

How do I know when my steaks are ready?

Rare:

Minutes per side: 2; Internal description: Red colour, moist, red juices; Touch test: Very Soft

Medium rare

Minutes per side: 3-4; Internal description: Lighter red colour, moist, pink juices; Touch test: Soft and Springy

Medium

Minutes per side: 4-6; Internal description: Pink colour, moist, clear to pink juices; Touch test: Firm and Springy

Well done

Minutes per side: 2-4, reduce heat then 4-6; Internal description: Stone gray colour, dry, no sign of pink juices; Touch test: Very Firm

Best cuts for pan frying

Beef
  • Scotch fillet
  • Rump steak
  • Sirloin steak
  • Schnitzel
  • Eye fillet
  • Minute steaks
  • Mince
Lamb
  • Backstrap
  • Shoulder chops
  • Loin chops
  • Ribs
  • Schnitzel
  • Leg steaks

Posted by Shawn Moodie

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