To pan-fry means to cook in a moderate amount of fat in a pan over moderate heat.
1. Pan-frying is similar to sautéing except that more fat is used and the cooking time is longer.The method is used for larger pieces of food, such as chops and chicken pieces, and the items are not tossed by flipping the pan, as they often are in sautéing.
2. Pan-frying is usually done over lower heat than sautéing because of the larger size of the pieces being cooked.
3. The amount of fat depends on the food being cooked. Only a small amount is used for eggs, for example, while as much as 1 inch (2.5 cm) or more may be used for pan-fried chicken.
4. Most foods must be turned at least once for even cooking. Some larger foods may be removed from the pan and finished in the oven to prevent excessive surface browning.This method of finishing in the oven is also used to simplify production when large quantities of foods must be pan-fried.
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