Some things stay with people forever. Saturday night dinners at your grandmother’s place, for instance. You remember the taste of it, don’t you? The secret to most of it was a good and sturdy frying pan—that and the fact that your grandmother was an excellent cook.
Now, you can only replicate the magic of your childhood by picking any other pan off the shelf at your nearest general store. No, you have to know what you are looking for first. Then, you have to consider your cooking habits and preferences.
Only then will you have an idea about which one suits you best. Here are the three types of pans broken down into their most basic features:
Non-stick pans are an excellent choice if you tend to put off cleaning up after dinner. They wash easily, are perfect for everyday use and are generally well-suited for all Sunday morning fry-ups.
Yet, these utensils react poorly to high heat and require low to medium temperatures to last as long as other variants. That means you can’t get that hard sear you’re looking for in your steak or any other dish, for that matter.
However, you should still consider a non-stick frying pan. After all, most of the food you cook, from eggs to fish, tends to be sticky. So, consider purchasing a small one if you don’t have one.
Remember to use plastic or wooden spatulas while cooking because anything metal will destroy the pan’s coating.
There’s a reason why most commercial kitchens use stainless-steel pans for cooking. And it’s primarily due to how the base is non-reactive and can sustain high temperatures without affecting the dish.
In short, you could get the best sear on your chicken thighs and squeeze a little lime juice on the pan to deglaze everything without the heat destroying the taste of the dish.
The only issue that most home cooks face with these utensils is related to cleaning them. A simple tip here is to add the oil and swirl it around while bringing it to a smoking point. Then, you put in your ingredients.
Do this each time you cook, as the combination of the heat and the oil will close up any microscopic pores in the pan, preventing your dish from getting stuck to the base.
Considered to be the heavyweights when it comes to cooking utensils, a cast iron frying pan will last you for generations if taken care of properly.
They are heavy, retain heat exceptionally well and distribute it even better. Their only downside is that they don’t react well to acids. So, if you plan on adding a little wine to your dish to deglaze the fond at the bottom, you’re better off using a stainless-steel pan.
However, if you are the kind who frequently craves hearty stews or meaty dishes done right, a cast iron pan or skillet will be a godsend.
The only thing you have to do is to season it. One tip is to wash the utensil thoroughly and then let it dry. After that, rub some oil into the base and stick it into your oven before turning it up to 180°C. Let it stay there for 30 minutes, then dry it with paper towels.
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Picking the right kind
All three types of pans will serve you well. So, consider getting one of each if you are already in the market for such utensils. However, if you are on a budget and live in a relatively smaller household, a non-stick pan will be enough.
Conversely, a stainless-steel variant will be a better fit if you tend to cook regularly. Finally, for those who have to feed more people daily, a cast iron skillet or a pan will be the perfect choice to whip up those one-pot wonders.