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High heat roasting vs. Pan frying

Back in 97 when I first walked into the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale we studied many different methods of cooking. From Grilling, roasting, broiling, poaching to sautéing. They vary for different proteins or items to cook. Every chef I have ever worked for in the early years of my culinary career would set up their menu according to the equipment. So the cooking method would have a direct effect on how the food would flow in and out of the kitchen.

And here I am 25 years later cooking healthier than ever which happens quite often as we age. We have to keep up with the one thing we can not cheat, that is time. I still use a variety of cooking methods but the ones I use the most are oven roasting, grilling, smoking and Sous Vide.

Today we are going to focus a little on high heat roasting. This method we use a convection oven for, we set the oven at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.  With this method of cooking I arrange the food items to be cooked on a cooking sheet or sheet tray. I layer the food

In shallow layers so

There will cook quickly and evenly. I lightly spray the food items with my oil of choice. Most of the time I use extra virgin olive oil.  I also season with pink sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

The cooking times vary depending on the product. The more dense, the longer I cook. The ones that have longer cooking times are the ones I put on the lower shelf of the oven.

This method product a slight char on the exterior and also helps make the seasoning adhere onto the food item. It enhances the flavors by eliminating some of the moisture and bringing forward the natural flavors.

With this method we also use minimal oil or fat. To coat the amount of vegetables when we use a 8 inch by 12 inch cooking tray and we use a spraying of these vegetables we would use approximately 1 tablespoon.

Keeping the fat & calorie count very low.

Extra virgin olive oil:

Per table spoon

Calories 120

Fat 12 grams

Pan frying by definition is: Pan frying or pan-frying is a form of frying food characterized by the use of minimal cooking oil or fat (compared to shallow frying or deep frying), typically using just enough to lubricate the pan.

This method you would typically coat the bottom of the  of a pan. If you use a 10 inch sautéed pan you would typically use two to three tablespoons of your preferred fat to coat the pan. Smoking point of oils is also very important but that is a topic of future discussion. We can say that we use an oil with a higher smoke point such as Canola.

Canola oil

Per tablespoon

Calories 120

Fat 14 grams

This comparison has a couple of details that needed to be highlighted.

  • Use less oil with oven roasting compared to pan frying

  • Can cook in larger batches so takes less time

  • Clean up is takes less time: you have to clean pan in between every batch, line baking sheet with parchment paper and this will cut down on cleaning time

  • Less calories and fat used per batch which will lead to a healthier result

  • More flavorful end product that will keep you enjoying it more and more

Here are a few advantages to the two cooking methods hopefully this can shed some light on it for you and make your decisions easier. Ciao!

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