A popular technique with restaurant chefs, pan roasting works equally well in the home kitchen. This two-level method produces food with a flavorful browned exterior and a tender, juicy interior. It also provides plenty of pan juices for creating a delicious sauce.
First, the meat, poultry or seafood is quickly seared in a small amount of oil in a heavy ovenproof fry pan. This creates a flavorful light browning on the outer surface. Then the pan is transferred to a moderate to hot oven, where the food roasts until it has finished cooking. The food is removed from the pan to a platter or carving board, then the pan juices can be deglazed and made into a sauce.
This method works best for chops, steaks and other relatively thin cuts of meat, poultry cuts like chicken and duck breasts, and fish fillets. If these cuts were roasted without an initial searing, they would never develop sufficient surface browning before they finished cooking and would be less flavorful.
Here you'll find recipes for pan roasting a variety of foods, from spice-rubbed salmon to filets mignons with shallots.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Roasting, by Rick Rodgers, Melanie Barnard & Bob & Colleen Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2004).