How To. . . Pick the Perfect Saute Pan

admin | January 13th, 2011 - 7:57 pm

Here are a few helpful tips in shopping for different types of saute pans, their positives and drawbacks.

CAST IRON:
Uses:
This cast-iron pan is at home on a stovetop and above a campfire.  Use it for Cajun-style blackening and other high-heat methods, pan-roasting, baking corn bread.
Pluses: Durable, great heat retention, no hotspots, decent nonstick properties when well-seasoned.  Available in most areas.
Drawbacks: Very heavy, heats and cools slowly, must hand wash.

STAINLESS STEEL:
Uses:
Anything but blackening.
Pluses: Durable, heats up and cools faster than cast iron; Available in nonstick, light weight, and dishwasher-safe.
Drawbacks: Eggs and similar foods may stick, the interior will scratch and the exterior will dull over time, some models are expensive; Cheaper models tend to get hotspots and warping.

STAINLESS-LINED COPPER:
Uses:
Anything but blackening.
Pluses: Durable, fastest heat responsiveness, available in nonstick, even heating/no hotspots, beautiful!
Drawbacks: Eggs and similar foods may stick, requires extra care, interior will scratch and the exterior will dull overtime; some models are heavy, expensive, and you have to hand wash.

SUPERMARKET NONSTICK:
Uses:
Good for eggs, reheating sticky leftovers, and low-fat sauteing.
Pluses: Inexpensive, effort-free cleanup.
Drawbacks: Prone to hotspots, nonstick coating may scratch and will wear out; Should not use in a very hot oven or beneath a broiler.

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