I have read on cooking forums that a frying pan should be preheated for a few minutes, which never seemed to get it hot enough for a good sear.
I decided to do a test. I used a Calphalon One 10" frying pan on the large burner set at medium on a GE Profile Performance smooth-top stove. It took 9 minutes to get the pan up to the right temperature based on the mercury ball test. At 8.5 minutes it was not quite hot enough. It's a fairly heavy aluminum pan, that I imagine would heat up slower than a lot of triply pans, but maybe faster than a heavy disc bottom or thick carbon steel pan.
I never turn my burner higher for preheating than I expect to start cooking at, because I don't want to overshoot my desired temp. I have also read in some recipes that the burner should be set to high or medium high but that always seemed way too high for anything but bringing liquid to a boil. Considering that my pan gets hot enough to pass the mercury ball test on medium, my instinct seemed correct.
I'm just wondering if other chowhounders would share their techniques for time and burner setting for pre-heating. Thanks.