I’ve mentioned pan-searing as a cooking technique for indoor steaks, or really anything that you want to have a nice brown crust on that is NOT really thick. Well, pan roasting is half a pan-sear, and then finish in the oven.  As this terminology suggests it involves doing part of the cooking on the stove-top (the searing) and part in the oven–the dry heat roasting part.  It’s a  technique that can be applied to many things: proteins–meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. One of the advantages is that finishing the cooking in the oven is gentle and even.

The general technique for pan roasting proteins is simple:

  • adjust oven rack to mid-position and preheat oven, usually to 425°F to 500°F
  • select an oven-proof skillet
  • heat your skillet over high heat until hot
  • when hot, add your oil and reduce to medium-high heat
  • heat until oil is shimmering–just below smoking or just starting to smoke
  • pat you meat dry and add to skillet–it should sizzle!
  • cook until browned on one side, time will vary depending on the type of protein. When you put it into the pan, it will seem to stick. As it cooks, it will release cleanly with a gentle nudge of a spatula.  It should be well-browned on one side now.
  • transfer the skillet to the oven to complete cooking. Fish may need only a few minutes in the oven, while beef, pork may need longer.  Use an instant-read digital thermometer to check temperature. Remember that the temperature will rise while your meat rests.

Here are some video links to demonstrate pan roasting of various proteins.  It’s a great technique.

If you’re skulking through cookbooks and blogs, you sometimes hear “pan-roasting” applied to vegetables.  Often these are more like steam/sauté  rather than this method used for protein.  Probably we should refer to the method for cooking protein as pans-sear/oven-roast.