[Sca-cooks] hot pan, cold oil ( was Re: ot help with soy...)

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Sat Jul 21 18:10:15 PDT 2007

This turns up on the web like 2 million times. Try searching under hot 
pan cold oil---
http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen01/gen01181.htm   is from Argonne.
http://forum.epicurean.com/webbbs/webbbs_config.pl?read=3404 is 

It's labeled as false at http://www.pgacon.com/KitchenMyths.htm

It's been a topic of postings on all the culinary lists at time or 
another. Some say
it's Yan Can Cook; others invoke Jeff Smith.

Cooks Illustrated says to get foods properly seared--
"Measured into a cold skillet and heated for a few minutes, oil gives 
off wisps of smoke that serve as a visual alarm that the skillet is hot 
and ready. We tested our theory with beef steaks, chicken (skin-on), and 
fish fillets and steaks. In each case, oil that had just begun to smoke 
was a good indicator that the skillet was hot enough to produce 
well-crusted, good-tasting, and good-looking food without overcooking.
That said, not every kind of oil is suitable for high-heat browning and 
searing. Unrefined oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil, should not be 
used because their smoke points are low. Refined oils, such as 
vegetable, canola, corn, and peanut (be careful of the unrefined peanut 
oil carried in some grocery stores) work well because their smoke points 
are high (above 400 degrees). A word to the wise: Using just-smoking oil 
as a heat indicator is good only for browning and searing in very little 
oil, no more than a couple of tablespoons. Smoking oil is simply too hot 
for pan-frying and deep-frying."

As to non-stick cookware-- "our results reinforces the recommendation we 
made in the magazine about use of nonstick cookware over high heat: The 
worst thing you can do is heat an empty pan on the stovetop. Always add 
butter or oil first. Butter begins to smoke at about 350 degrees, most 
vegetable oils between 400 and 450 degrees--before the pan reaches 
temperatures at which the coating begins to break down. And never leave 
a pan--empty or not--unattended. Likewise, a pan filled with the 
contents of a stir-fry intended to serve four will be much less able to 
sustain high temperatures than a pan of the same size used to cook a 
single lonely hamburger or chicken cutlet. Use a pan size appropriate to 
the amount of food being cooked."

I didn't find it the latest edition of McGee.


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