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For Added Safety When Flambéing In A Pan, Turn Off The Burner

Flambéing in a pan
Flambéing in a pan - mon_ter/Shutterstock

Flambéing tends to draw a crowd ... and bring the heat. After all, the fire-based cooking technique looks as flashy as the food tastes. Yet in working so closely with fire, how to flambé safely -- and various, corresponding precautions -- should always be at the top of mind. For example, it's best not to pour any alcohol directly from the bottle onto your pan; this step can cause your fire to get out-of-hand, and generally limits the control you have over a dish. Another important safety precaution? Turning off the burner -- a step that's not always necessary but covers your bases.

Because you're flambéing directly over the stove, you not only have to account for the heat on your pan but also for the heat that emanates from an open-flame burner. When you pour the alcohol, you run the risk of lighting both the food inside your pan, and, if a stove is gas, sparking that flame beneath it. Of course, this isn't particularly likely to happen if you're careful, though turning off the burner goes the extra mile in accounting for safety. Plus, it means you're less likely to overcook your flambéed dish.

As for how, exactly, to flambé without an ignited burner, that stovetop is not necessary for your success, so long as your pan is still hot. All you have to do is turn off your burner once when you're ready for the flame.

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To Reduce Risk, Turn Off The Burner Immediately Before Adding Alcohol

Flambéing in a pan
Flambéing in a pan - Marianvejcik/Getty Images

Flambéing is all about calculated risk, so turning off the burner is never a bad idea. To best pull off this precaution, only eliminate the heat when you're ready to finish the dish. You want the pan to still be hot enough to ignite a substantial fire. Otherwise, if your alcohol can't get hot enough, it will be far more difficult to light and therefore finish the flambé. For extra safety, make sure to also turn off the stove's exhaust fan. It's also not a bad idea to keep a lid on hand, in case things get out of control and you need to smother the flames. Alternatively, you can consider moving your pan to a different, dormant burner altogether for even further distance from the heat.

So long as you're careful, flambéing is a surefire way to ensure a dish that brings the fire. Whether you're making a banana-based dessert, a steak Diane, or a rum-topped meringue, the cooking method is more than worthwhile -- and doesn't have to be a danger.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.