Searing is a technique used before many other types of cooking such as sautéing, roasting, braising and stewing. Searing creates the brown, caramel-y, crusty exterior that contributes to flavor and texture on meats and vegetables.

Tips and tricks for searing:

  • Get the pan WICKED hot! Avoid a non-stick pan, use a cast-iron or stainless steel pan, this makes it easy to transfer to the oven for other methods such as braising and roasting.

  • Use a high smoke-point oil such as safflower, vegetable and peanut. You only need a tiny bit, a tablespoon or less. The oil will look shimmery and just start to smoke when it’s ready.

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan; this will cause steaming instead of searing.

  • Gently lower the item onto the pan to avoid spattering the hot oil.

  • Try not to move the items in the pan when searing. Constant contact between the food and the pan is required for a proper sear. The item will initially stick to the pan when searing, you can jiggle the pan a little, if the food releases, it is ready to flip.

  • Deglazing the pan is a great way to make a pan sauce or to continue cooking a braise or stew. Deglazing is easy: Remove the seared item to a separate plate and keep warm. Add hot liquid (broth, wine, beer, etc.) to the hot pan and scrape up the gooey, brown, sticky bits at the bottom with a wooden utensil. The amount of liquid will depend on the recipe but adding an inch or two of liquid for a pan sauce and halfway up the item is a good starting point for a braise. For a stew, you’ll need more liquid but it can be added after the deglazing process.

What to sear:

Carrots Chicken
Okra Peppers
Sweet Potatoes
Squash – summer