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6 Cooking Techniques Everyone Needs to Know

Learn how to poach, sear, and blanch your way into becoming a better cook. 

Seared Chicken Paillard with Lemon Slices and Thyme
Marcus Nilsson
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Technique 3: Sear

A crisp, golden brown exterior on meat or fish signals deep, savory flavor—and looks pretty, too. Start by patting down the meat or fish with a paper towel. (Moisture creates steam, which hinders browning.) Next, preheat the pan over high heat, then add the oil. When the oil is shimmering and hot, add the meat and let it cook unbothered. It’s ready to flip when a corner lifts easily from the pan. If it sticks or tugs, give it a minute or so more. Thin cuts (like the chicken shown here) can be cooked completely on the stovetop. Thicker cuts (like steak) need to be transferred to the oven, either in the skillet or on a sheet tray, to cook to a rosy medium-rare.

Get the recipe for Seared Chicken Paillard With Lemon Slices and Thyme (shown).

Get the recipe for Seared Steak With Pepper Sauce.

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