do I need to heat my pan before frying?
 
 

No, not always. Although many ingredients benefit from going straight into a sizzling pan - steak, were looking at you - there are times when starting things off from cold gives the best results

TOASTING SEEDS AND SPICES
Added to a hot pan, they'll just burn on the outside. Starting them from cold lets them warm through to the middle, bringing out their full flavour and aroma.

MELTING BUTTER
Starting it off in a cold pan melts it slowly, so it's less likely to burn.

COOKING DUCK BREAST
Start the breast skin-side down in a cold pan and cook slowly over a medium heat. The fat will have more time to render from the skin, giving the exterior a glorious golden crispness without burning.
It also helps to prevent the skin shrivelling away from the meat.

COOKING STREAKY BACON
You can cook bacon in a hot pan but, as with duck breast, the slow approach renders more of the fat, turning the bacon wonderfully crisp. Let the bacon come to room temperature before you cook it.

INFUSING OIL
Add the ingredients - garlic, spices, chilli and so on - to cold oil and gently warm before removing from the heal and leaving to infuse. If you add them to hot oil, you risk burning them.