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This is a dry heat method using oil in a frypan on the range. But there are two kinds...
By the book, this method refers to shallow-fat frying which uses 1/2 to 2 inches of fat (depending on the food) for frying an item that has breading or some other coating. The cooking temperature is lower with a longer cooking time than deep fat frying. The food is cooked by the oil's heat more than by contact with the pan. The food is not submerged, and requires turning to complete cooking. Southern-fried chicken and breaded, pan-fried pork chops are two common examples. For this type of shallow-fat frying, a cast iron frypan is a fantastic choice.
But then there is the more popular definition of pan-frying (can we call it "pop-frying"?) demonstrated every time we make an egg over easy, brown sausages or fry potato hash. It's not shallow-fat frying, it's definitely not saute, it's just pan frying. See? For this type, use as little oil as you can get away with and a low through medium-hot pan depending on the food.
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