Why it's great: You get a crispy, golden exterior that seals in juices, minus a lot of the fat that goes with deep-frying.
How it works: Like sautéing, pan-frying cooks food in a moderate amount of fat (usually oil). Most recipes call for filling the pan so the fat covers a third of the thickness of the meat, which means you need to turn it at least once to cook it through. Although you can pan-fry food dressed in little more than salt and pepper, it's best done with cuts that have been coated with flour, batter, or bread crumbs, which seal in moisture and stop the meat from absorbing too much oil. The coating also produces a satisfying crunch with every bite.
Cuts to pan-fry:
- Cutlets, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Boneless, skinless breasts, 10 to 12 minutes.