Originally Posted by jes269
I made fajitas by tossing some peppers and onions in olive oil, and then pan-searing a chicken breast. My burner was at about 50% heat with the vegetables, and on low with the chicken. What should I have done instead?
I've had this issue before (and I had to use a lot of patience to get my pan back to what I call a normal state). Here's what I learned from my own experience: heating the pan even on low or mid heat for extended period with the presence of a thin film of oil at the bottom of the pan and no food on top of that oil = you're creating those "seasoning" kind of marks.
So maybe after you tossed the peppers and onions, there was a nice film of oil on the entire surface of the pan, then when you put the chicken breast on, you developed marks where there was no chicken?
I haven't had that issue again in years, taking the following precautions:
- only pour a little oil where you're going to place your item(s), making sure you don't have oil covering empty areas of the pan.
- if you have oil all over your pan you should have items all over your pan.
- if you've used the pan for peppers/onions, resulting in oil all over your pan, and only want to cook a chicken breast that's going to occupy half the pan, then wiping the pan isn't enough, you need to wash the pan, put less oil, only enough to cover about half the pan, and place the chicken on top of the small oil patch.
- it is preferable to use the right size pan for the job, so if your chicken breast will only occupy 1/2 the surface of your pan, then you really should be using a smaller pan.
- the small dots on the side walls of your pan are, I believe, projections that occurred when placing an item in a pan with oil that was too hot, then those oil dots cooked onto the surface of the stainless steel, much like seasoning again.