Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
OliverN

Embracing the Heat

Recommended Posts

I think one of the things that a lot of amateur cooks (including myself) shy away from is really using heat. I've noticed for so long that that I rarely turn the knobs of my electric burner above the 'medium' or 'medium-high' setting.

What are some of the things where you can really let loose with the heat, where the hotter the better?

My most recent use was stir frying salt-and-pepper shrimp. Since you cook the shrimp with the shell on, you can really crank up the heat so that they get this wonderful crunchy smokiness to them.

Any other ideas? Ovens or stovetops are welcome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steak! I get my cast iron skillet smoking hot before searing for a couple minutes on each side for medium rare. Too bad I have a wimpy exhaust fan, but I'm willing to bear a little smoke for a beautiful crust on my ribeyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've noticed for so long that that I rarely turn the knobs of my electric burner above the 'medium' or 'medium-high' setting.

Funny, our burners spend most of their time on very high or very low, only occasionally stopping in the middle. High heat for searing, stir-frying, dry-roasting, boiling water, etc. Low heat for simmering, braising, cooking rice. Medium heat? Hmm, I’d have to think about that. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty much always on high, the more the better. For getting water boiling, for stir frying. Sauteeing and searing is the only thing that makes me carefully modulate the heat.


PS: I am a guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only recently have I discovered the "miracle" of high heat! It takes a lot more attention on my part but the results are superior and really worth the extra effort. It's not so much the heat I feared as the sound of that damn smoke alarm! Now, with the rather pathetic exhaust fan turned on, I can usually manage to cook dinner without scaring the heck out of everyone or totally filling the house with smoke.

High on my wish list is a powerful but QUIET exhaust fan.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am the opposite. I wish I had more heat at my command. I often move out to the grill when searing is the issue. Now a 30K BTU wok ring on my stove.....that would be heaven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My problem has been that I don't let pans heat up enough before adding food. I also think I'm a bit gun shy when applying heat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my apartment the exhaust fan doesn't exhaust outside, and is really pathetic besides. So I have set off the fire alarm (in the whole building, mind you) a time or two. Now I heat up a heavy pan on high, put a fan in the kitchen window, pull the pan off the heat and go stand in front of the fan and *then* drop whatever I am cooking on it. But it better cook fast! I can only hold it there so long. :shock:


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, a lot of casual cooks seem scared of heat. It might help people to watch at restaurants with open kitchens, or to cook with friends who have pro style stoves.

I have a pretty average home stove ... this means that cranked all the way up, the flame is really only on medium! When guests have asked why the stove is turned up so high, I have to explain that my stove doesn't go high at all; I'm just doing the best I can.

Anyone with a home style stove who's sautéing or trying to sear meat at anything but the highest setting just hasn't yet learned how to cook.

Hot ovens also scare people. I've had friends ask for my roast chicken recipe, and when I get to the part about the 500 degree oven, they typically change the subject. Do they think the house will burn down?


Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So I have set off the fire alarm (in the whole building, mind you) a time or two.

Pfft! A time or two? I think we've set ours off at least 10 times in the 3 months my S/O and I have lived there. :raz: Fortunately, it's just for our apartment.

We need to get a window fan or something, because I'm not afraid of heat at all. Unfortunately, the kitchen window faces our bedroom window in a shaft that's about 2 square yards wide. Oh, pre-war buildings!


"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've noticed for so long that that I rarely turn the knobs of my electric burner above the 'medium' or 'medium-high' setting.

Funny, our burners spend most of their time on very high or very low, only occasionally stopping in the middle. High heat for searing, stir-frying, dry-roasting, boiling water, etc. Low heat for simmering, braising, cooking rice. Medium heat? Hmm, I’d have to think about that. :wink:

Many recipes say to use medium or medium high heat. And my All Clad pan came with instructions recommending not going above medium high heat. I do have a stove with a lot of btu's, but I seldom use the highest setting except for boiling water or searing steak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...And my All Clad pan came with instructions recommending not going above medium high heat.

Seems like all pans marketed to consumers say this. It's been discussed here before ... consensus is that it's nonsense, just to protect them from whatever liability they're imagining. Your all clad will be perfectly happy sitting on much more heat than what a typical home stove could ever put out.

I have a pro roasting pan (made out of the same clad metals as A.C.) is rated to go right under a commercial broiler, or into a 640 degree oven.


Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My new stove has a setting called Power Boil....I like it

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow,

See even when I'm searing meat, I throw my cast-iron skillet on the (normal, run of the mill, electric) burner, put it to 5-6 (out of 10), and it starts smoking like mad, I'm scared to go above that! I feel like if I added a steak to that, it would burn in less then a minute! Is searing really a question of the more heat, the better?

Where am I going wrong? Should I ignore the smoke?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...