I recently bought a cast-iron grill pan, in hopes to recreate the great taste of grilled salmon steaks I ate recently at a restaurant.
Before trying it, I had received advice that I should let the salmon stay in the pan until it was released from the pan by itself, instead of trying to turn it early. Then, according to the advice, it wouldn’t stick.
First attempt went bad. The fish stuck to the pan, I barely managed to turn it, in gazillion pieces. The opposite side of the steaks, after turning it, didn’t stick at all. Obviously, this might be because of all the extra fat in the pan after frying the first side.
By salmon steaks I mean what you see in the first picture here, that is, the flesh and not the skin had direct contact with the pan:
Next time I tried pork cutlets (from the neck). In the meantime, I had found more advice, namely that I shouldn’t put the food into the pan before it was hot, but I didn’t know how hot it had to be.
This time, it worked exactly as the first advice had predicted: At first, the cutlets stuck immediately to the pan, in a tiny fraction of a second, like it had been glued with superglue. Then, when the time came to turn it, it wasn’t even the least bit stuck! It was completely loose, I could have easily turned it with one finger, without any residue, if it hadn’t been hot. Just like non-stick. But this time it was the other way around, after turning them, they stuck and when they were past done, they were still partly stuck. Despite way more fat in the pan, from frying the first side.
So, I decided to season the skillet. For three days I seasoned it according to the best advice I could find. Surface now dark, smooth and shiny.
So, I tried again with trout steaks this time. I used exactly the same oiling technique and amount as with the pork cutlets, and tried to replicate the frying technique w.r.t. heat and when to put it in the pan. This time it was glued to the pan when the time came to turn it.
So, this is not a question about seasoning, because there’s tons of advice about that on the internet. But the initial success with the pork cutlets was in a completely new unseasoned pan.
The question is:
What is the correct frying technique, as in, how do I know how hot it should be when I put in the food, does it matter w.r.t. sticking, basically, what are the details to achieve that effect that the food suddenly becomes released from the pan, that I had with the pork cutlets?
Finally, could it be a good idea to get one of the IR-thermometers, that measure the temp of the pan without touching it, to achieve the same level of control as with an oven?