Most of us understand the need to pay attention during cooking. But what about everything that happens before there’s any food involved? That’s where it can be easy to rush or shortchange the process. Case in point: heating your skillet.
This preliminary step is “one of the fundamental things of cooking,” says Adrienne Cheatham, a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.
When and how you heat the skillet has implications for how well your food turns out and how well your equipment will hold up over time. Your strategy could vary depending on the type of skillet and the food you’re cooking. Here’s what you need to know to make the right decisions.
◼️ The background. On a microscopic level, metal is not a naturally smooth surface. Cheatham compares it to a mountain range with peaks and valleys. Those holes and cracks are where food can