Crispy-skinned, pan-seared, or crusted of any kind—when a menu description brings to mind a deeply browned, so-crispy-it's-noisy piece of skin or seared meat, chances are I'm ordering it. It's that crunch, and the hopefully juicy, soft flesh that lies beneath it (vegetarians: substitute fried potatoes in your fantasy), is a large part of why I eat out in the first place. The chefs behind those perfect proteins don't have a magic wand or a secret ingredient. So what is the key to this seductive outer crust? Pan-basting.