The pan roast seems impossibly simple to make, yet few get it right. An alchemy of shellfish, roasted tomatoes, clam juice and a kick of spice, all bubbled in cream, the ingredients are cooked in a steam-powered, steel-jacketed kettle rather than in a pan, as the name suggests. The dish tastes like a cross between a lobster bisque and a seafood tower, and it comes together in minutes. A good chef can run eight or more kettles at once, working his way down the line from one end to the other.
“You can’t make a great pan roast without a steam kettle,” says Jacqueline McMillion, a cook who’s been shucking oysters and building pan roasts at Harrah’s Oyster Bar since the restaurant opened 13 years ago. “And I’ve made a lot of pan roasts in 13 years.”
Next time you stop at one of these four oyster bars in Las Vegas, skip the oysters and order the pan roast instead.