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Frying without sticking

Cooking The Leidenfrost Effect So what exactly is the Leidenfrost effect? Controlling heat is one of the most basic challenges a cook faces in the kitchen. It's important to heat your skillet before adding ingredients, and many people just put the pan over heat for a couple of minutes, add oil, add ingredients and then go on their merry way. Though this approach may work for some things, there is actually a small ideal window of heat that you should be aiming for in order to prevent sticking, optimize browning of your meat and develop a nice fond* on the pan. O The water "hoverlng" over the stalnless steel pan like mercury happens because of the phenomenon known as the Leldenfrosteffect. Here's how to identify O At a certaln temperature known as the Leidenfrost point (roughly 320°F for water but varying with surface and pressure), when the water droplet hits the hot pan the bottom part of the water vaporizes immediately on contact this window with a stainless steel skillet. Once you learn this, your cutlets for chicken marsala will never stick to the pan, and your pan-seared steaks will release easily, preserving that delicious caramelized outer crust. * Fond (pronounced "fahn"), from the French word for "bottom," is the word for those little roasty bits. (Gas stoves offer the immediate and precise temperature control you need to do this correctly.) WATER DROPLET VAPOR O Apply heatto a skillet. O As the skillet heats, add 1/8 teaspoon of water every 10 to 15 seconds to testthe rising temperature. O Initially, the water, beingmerely cool orwam, will justsitthere. O Eventually, thewaterwillgethotandstartto bubble away. O At higher temperatures, newly added water will hit the pan and quickly boil off. O At an even highertemperature, added waterwill bubble and break into many small globules that spatter around the pan and quickly boil off. You are approaching the idealtemperature. O When you add water and a single globule immediately forms and glides around the pan like a blob of mercury, you are witnessing the Leidenfrost effect. This is the ideal temperature for nonstick cooking. LAYER HOT SKILLET S URFACE O The resulting gas actually suspends the water above it and creates a pocket of water vapor, which slows further heat transfer between the pan and the water. Thus, it evaporates more slowly than It would at lower temperatures. O At the proper temperature, a slmllar effect happens with the food you place in the pan, preventing the food from stlcklng. Once you get that maglc mercury-like ball of water in your skillet, wipe it up, and then throw in some oil and quickly add your ingredients. (Have them ready beforehand, as the heat window is small.) Voila! No sticking! O Ifthe pan is to0 hot, when the water hits the pan itwill immediately break up into many small globules that glide around the pan. Lowerthe temperature until you achieve a single globule ofwater. SOURCE: Houseboat Eats Frank Mariani

Frying without sticking

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Creators Syndicate 2014 Cook Special Section: There is a temperature "sweet spot" that is ideal for frying without having food stick to the skillet. This is because of the Leidenfrost effect, a pheno...


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