I don’t know about you, but my pots and pans are wearing out from all the extra cooking I’ve done. I also feel like I have too much – I have a pan for searing (my cast iron), a pan for sautÃ©ing (my stainless steel) and a pan for when I’m lazy, and therefore the most used (my non-stick ). Each of these pans has a different purpose and is irreplaceable and indispensable in my kitchen. Or so, I thought.
Pretty much begging for help, I recently spoke with Julia Sullivan, the chef appointed by James Beard and owner of Henrietta Red in Nashville, Tennessee. She told me that a carbon steel pan, especially the one from Made In, could âreplace all the pots in my kitchenâ and completely solve my problems.
Blue carbon steel frying pan
âCarbon steel is the best of both worlds,â she told me. âYou get the lightweight properties of stainless steel, which makes it ideal for stir-frying, along with the conductivity and heat retention you would have with cast iron. But it gets better from there. âIt’s a thinner metal,â she continued, âwhich means it can heat up really quickly and conduct heat even better than cast iron.â
She then compared the sides of the Made In Pan to a wok. “The high curves, which you wouldn’t get with a cast iron skillet, make it easier to stir-fry or even fry, to ensure nothing splashes on your stove or floor.”
âPlus,â she continued, âit’s easy to clean.
Now I was intrigued. âAll you have to do is wipe off the oil with a paper towel and maybe run some water on it if it’s really dirty,â she said. “And that’s it. Really.”
I had to try this for myself. Made In was kind enough to help me get my hands on one, and off I went. The only roadblock? Seasoning. But even that turned out to be easier than expected. To create a non-stick surface, I wet a paper towel with oil, heat the pan, and run a few coats of oil on it. What’s really cool is that the seasoning continues to develop as you cook, forming a black patina which is a somewhat invulnerable non-stick surface on the pan. The more I cooked with the pan, the better it got, and soon my old stoves were out on the street.
In short, Julia was right: âUnless you are an absolute fanatic of cast iron, carbon steel is the way to go.
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