I have been cooking with my stainless steel pan for a while, and have tried many techniques to prevent sticking. Hot pan then oil did work to some extent, but I still had trouble with eggs, potatoes, and tofu. While I was doing this, I did make sure that water droplets were able to glide across the surface, and not evaporate.
Recently I have been trying to to "season" the pan each time before cooking by getting the pan hot, adding oil, then letting it cool all the way. This way, I could add eggs at lower temperatures as I might in a Teflon pan, and they were able to slide around and not just release. I found this to work well for fried potatoes as well.
However, I am having second thoughts about this method for several reasons. For one, I am not sure it is healthy. Second, no matter what method I try, I always have trouble making crispy skin salmon in my stainless steel pan. Therefore, I would like to revisit the hot pan + oil method properly.
One problem I had was that the temperature of the pan to be hot enough, the oil would always smoke when added, and would start to splatter when I placed the salmon. Is there a way to achieve the Leidenfrost effect without burning the oil? Also, if this effect is indeed due to the pores of the metal remaining open at a certain temperature, how can I cook proteins at lower temperatures? Finally, how can I achieve the food gliding effect of seasoning before each use without reheating the same oil?