"Remember to pat dry your fish and meat before putting them on the pan!” Sounds familiar? We hear that plenty from Chef Gordon Ramsay while watching MasterChef series. There’s a good reason why he emphasizes on that. Read on to know why should you pat dry your fish and meat before cooking.
Searing protein is technically all about building flavors in your fish and meat. Just think about it, you are having a bunch of guests over for dinner, and everyone’s all ready to gather around for the main event and… and the main dish is underwhelming. Disappointing, is it not? While some meat or fish dishes will look cooked on the outside, it can still be cold on the inside. By the time you send it back to the kitchen and serve it again, it would have already lost its magic.
That’s all the reason why we would like to explain to you what you got to do to serve up a great dish that is warm on the inside—the reason why should you pat dry your fish and meat before cooking. See, when your protein touches a nice scorching hot pan, its surface will start to caramelize. And whether you are making a hearty stew, a warm braise, or a succulent roast, the sear on your protein will translate into a rich and savory flavor that is so inviting. This is the sort of taste that makes us crave for more of the fish and meat. No sear, no flavor. Let us get on to it!
The idea is to get a nice caramelized skin or a crispier skin. Patting any protein like meat, chicken, fish, prawn, etc. correctly reduces the protein’s overall moisture content. That means if you leave your protein as it is without pat drying it, it is going to release more moisture while you leave it to cook.
The general rule is, as long as you are working with any protein that was frozen, you will want to get rid of any excess moisture in it from the freezer.
For non-marinated proteins, you must also be careful with how you pat them dry. You must be cautious to not remove any natural fluids from the meat or fish you are having. Doing that removes both moisture and flavor, and you do not want that because it will result in a protein that is just bland and dry. That means you should not press on your fish or meat when you are patting them. Doing so squeezes the moisture out. Instead, just grab a kitchen towel and gently pat dry (lightly touching or brushing) the surface of the fish or meat. That should do the trick to wick away the excess moisture. That should help it to maintain its goodness without being too moist or wet on the outside.
We talked about handling the non-marinated proteins, now let us move on to marinated proteins. Whether it is a store-bought marinated cut you brought from a supermarket or your own protein that is soaking up that kicker of a marinate you made—how you are going to pat dry the fish or meat can depend a little bit on the type of marinade used, and how much of it you are supposed to keep for the flavor. Otherwise, you just have to stick with the fundamental idea of removing excess moisture and nothing else.
Long story short, if you notice while you are patting dry your fish and meat and the paper towels begin sticking to them, that just means you are removing too moisture than you are supposed to. There is possibly another way to go about this.
Set a paper towel on your working surface.
Hold the fish or meat with some tongs.
With the things, bring the meat and let it touch the towel as you are just about to cook them.
How do the professionals do it?
If you wonder how do professional and large-scale kitchens do it, keeping up with the adrenaline rush and heat to bring out top-notch meat dishes to every table, the answer is… Well, they do not always do it. What they do is utilize a large sheet pan, place a drip rack in the pan, then place the meat on the rack. Placing the meat allows the excess juices to be released naturally. If the meat is not cooked quickly after set to dry, other methods to help it cook evenly include basting drippings, marinade, or boil onto them just before cooking.
Biggest takeaway: Always start with a dry surface on the protein so you get a sear, not a steam. Even if you marinate it, pat it dry before cooking.
Some Recipes to consider.
Now that you know why should you pat dry your fish and meat before cooking, get your protein on with these two recipes:
Spicy Thai Sea Bass
This recipe features a gorgeous deep fried sea bass where you get the joy from the crunch. Remember, you want to pat dry the fish before you fry it so your fish skin gets light and crispy. The sea bass is moist and tender on the inside with a crispy skin. With the sea bass seasoned perfectly with paprika, curry powder, black pepper, and other aromatics, it gives of a wonderful aroma. Have it served on top of a bed of pan-fried vegetables, the sea bass is then brought to another level when paired with its spicy Thai sauce made with Rich’s Versatie. That said, this plate of Spicy Thai Sea Bass is a simple dish you can make at home for lunch or dinner without much fuss. Got some friends over for dinner? All sorted then!
Rich’s Versatie is a dairy blend cream that has a good texture and pleasant taste for both and hot applications. Its neutral taste allows chefs to customize their food flavors. Due to its versatility in both hot and cold applications, you can feel free to experiment it in your own savory and sweet recipes.
Orange Smoked Duck
We thought we would share this recipe with you as duck is such an underrated meat. And that is such a shame! Duck itself has a strong flavor, closer to red meat than chicken. It is also a lot fattier and, if cooked the right way, it can be incredibly tender, moist, and fatty—the perfect protein combination for meat lovers! Also, duck with crispy skin? Come on!
This Orange Smoked Duck is inviting with its fragrance. The duck is cooked well and served alongside some pan-fried shiitake mushrooms, French beans, and carrots. Yet, what truly brings this dish together aside from the perfectly cooked duck that is tender on the inside is the sauce. The orange sauce truly packs a punch of flavors and good zingy flavors that ties the dish as a whole. Made with our Rich’s Double Cream that is full of body and flavor, the orange sauce that is drizzled on top of the cooked duck screams perfection! Serve this at the dinner table to wow your guests.
Rich’s Double Cream is a multi-purpose dairy blend that is versatile—it can be used for culinary, pastry, and beverage applications. It has an excellent fresh cream taste, a thick consistency (which means shorter reduction time for your sauces), a great acid tolerance (sauces and soups will not separate and split), and a heat stability that is good.
Nothing brings people together quite like tasty food. The aromas and flavors; the shared enjoyment of every mouthful and seeing the smile on the faces we love; it becomes a shared magical moment. If you like what you are reading so far, feel free to explore our recipes and products for more inspiration—start sharing your favorite food moments with Rich Products Malaysia.