High Heat!

A friend recently commented how great my photographs have been coming out, going as far to ask what kind of camera I’ve been using (iPhone).  He even said, “My food never looks like that.  How do you get everything so perfectly brown”?  My answer: high heat.  I find the most common practice among at-home cooks is not starting with a hot pan.  So many things come into play here: type of pan, oil, food.  I like to use a teflon coated aluminum pan for breakfast meals because it’s so versatile.  These pans heat quickly.  Some of you are using electric heat and that tends to take longer to heat to the right temperature, too.  Your oil should smoke when put into the hot pan.  Based on paleo food lists, I use olive oil and only occasionally, canola.  Once you get use to the smoking points of these oils, you’ll have consistent results.  Today, I made turkey and mushrooms with zucchini.  Meat usually takes longer to cook so I started with that, then added the mushrooms. Remember, adding a lot of food to a heated pan absorbs all the heat immediately.  That’s why it’s so important to pre-heat the pan to a high temperature.  Also, vegetables tend to have a lot more water in them which comes out during the cooking process and need more heat to brown.  We’re always scared of burning our food but not to worry, a hot pan is an important factor.  Not heating your pan properly leads to your food taking longer to brown and therefore, more prone to overcooking.  Once my turkey and mushrooms were finished I heated the pan again to cook the zucchini separately.  Patience!  I know you’re in a hurry, but put your pan on the heat and go do something else until it’s ready.

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