Pressing ingredients against a hot pan
This is something I've recognized more and more when watching chefs in cooking contest shows, but almost never see during more cooking instruction shows: putting a steak or piece of fish, etc., into the pan and pressing it down with the fingertips.
I'm assuming it's to get an even sear, but is there something more at work here? It's just strange to me that it's never mentioned.
I do it occasionally to make sure that the entire surface of the meat is in contact with the pan. Not too hard but just to get it to make contact. Sometimes with a thin cut when I want a good sear but the meat only needs a few minutes to cook I'll use something heavier just for a few seconds to get it to make contact along the entire surface.