Skills every cook should know

Technique 1: Slow Roast

This hands-off method (the oven does the work) gets the most flavor out of vegetables and ensures an even, fork-tender finish on a large cut of meat. (Fast, high heat can dry out the edges before the center is cooked.) You’ll need time, but slow roasting can transform tough ingredients. Take tomatoes: Even not-so-great ones become irresistible as the low heat slowly removes water and concentrates their flavor. They’re excellent in a simple pasta salad or served with ricotta on crusty bread or toasted baguette slices.

Technique 3: Sear

A crisp, golden brown exterior on meat or fish signals deep, savory flavor—and looks pretty, too. Start by patting down the meat or fish with a paper towel. (Moisture creates steam, which hinders browning.) Next, preheat the pan over high heat, then add the oil. When the oil is shimmering and hot, add the meat and let it cook unbothered. It’s ready to flip when a corner lifts easily from the pan. If it sticks or tugs, give it a minute or so more. Thin cuts (like the chicken shown here) can be cooked completely on the stovetop. Thicker cuts (like steak) need to be transferred to the oven, either in the skillet or on a sheet tray, to cook to a rosy medium-rare.

Learn more technique here.