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Cooking

Le Creuset Burgundy

New & Exclusive
Le Creuset Skinny Griddle.

Le Creuset Skinny Griddle

NEW • EXCLUSIVE

Great for cooking up a batch of pancakes, searing steaks, toasting sandwiches and more, the Skinny Griddle is a versatile addition to your cookware arsenal. More »

Spring cookware sale: Up to 40% off

All-Clad

  

Enjoy truly professional performance at home with All-Clad cookware. Each piece is crafted to provide even heat at the cooking surface, to eliminate hot spots and prevent sticking and burning. More »

 

Cuisinart Cookware

  

A durable, versatile cookware collection for discerning home cooks. With professionally clad construction, even heat distribution and an exclusive dishwasher-safe anodized exterior for easy cleanup, these pieces perform beautifully. More »

 

Demeyere

  

Beautiful both to behold and to use, Demeyere products are exceptionally crafted and use the most advanced technology and construction to deliver superior results. The gold standard in induction-compatible cookware. More »

 

Emile Henry Flame

  

Handcrafted cookware can be used on electric, gas, halogen and in the oven. Lighter than cast iron, it’s made from natural clay found in mineral rich Burgundy, France to resist cracks, chips and scratches. More »

 

Le Creuset

  

Since 1925, Le Creuset has been the leading manufacturer of enameled cast iron cookware. Today their offering includes enamel on steel, stoneware, tri-ply stainless steel and forged hard-anodized cookware. More »

 

Lékué

  

Made in Spain of medical-grade platinum silicone, the Lékué collection takes the hassle out of cooking, yielding healthy, restaurant-quality results in mere minutes. Simple to use and incredibly innovative, it will exceed your expectations. More »

 

Lodge

  

Pre-seasoned heavy duty cast iron is created by America’s oldest family-owned cookware manufacturer. It distributes heat quickly and evenly, with superior heat retention so food stays warm while serving. More »

 

Mauviel

  

Mauviel designs and manufactures products in a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Mauviel is continuously researching high-performance techniques and materials for creating new products. More »

 

Scanpan

  

Sleek, certified PFOA-free Danish cookware constructed of 100% recycled, pressure-cast aluminum, packed with ergonomic design features for amazing performance. The unique PFOA-free surface is safe for metal utensils. More »

 

Staub

  

Legendary Staub cookware has long been favored by professional chefs ands cooking enthusiasts the world over. Durable cast iron construction retains and distributes heat evenly and effectively. More »

 

Sur La Table

  

Exquisitely crafted performance-focused stainless steel cookware designed by us, for people like you who truly love the art and soul of cooking. Made exclusively for Sur La Table. Limited lifetime warranty. More »

 

Zwilling

  

Since its founding in 1731 as a German cutlery company, Zwilling has been blending technology with traditional processes. Today, their expertise in stainless steel is evident not just in their knives, but in their exceptional, affordable cookware collections. More »

 

All-Clad Copper-Core

Skillets • Sets • And More

Copper and stainless steel bonded 5-ply construction is efficient and durable, with an easy to clean interior. More »

All-Clad d5 Stainless

Skillets • Sets • And More

Inventive technology incorporates five alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum from base to rim, eliminating hot spots.  More »

All-Clad Stainless Steel

Skillets • Sets • And More

Durable stainless steel evenly distributes heat, while hand-polished stay-cool handles look sleek. More »

Demeyere Atlantis

Skillets • Sets • And More

InductoSeal base combines silver and copper sealed in stainless steel for optimal performance. More »

Demeyere Industry5

Skillets • Sets • And More

Designed in Belgium to exceed the standards of professional chefs, with 5-ply construction and superior base stability.  More »

Demeyere J. Pawson

Skillets • Sets • And More

Designed by British architect John Pawson, this innovative collection is for use on all types of heating sources. More »

Emile Henry

Bakers • Gratins • More

Crafted in France from Burgundy clay, with a superior glaze that resists chips, scratches and crazing. More »

Le Creuset Cast Iron

French Ovens • And More

Enameled cast iron evenly conducts and retains heat, is scratch-resistant and is suitable for all cooking surfaces. More »

Le Creuset Stainless

Skillets • Sets • And More

With that same dedication to excellence, Le Creuset is proud to introduce a new line of stainless steel cookware. More »

Le Creuset Stoneware

Bakers • And More

Virtually non-porous stoneware is durable, with resistance to chips and stains. Won't absorb odors or moisture. More »

Lékué

Cookware • Tools • And More

Made in Spain of medical-grade platinum silicone, this collection yields healthy restaurant-quality results in minutes.  More »

Lodge Cast Iron

Skillets • Griddles • More

Legendary, American made cast iron cookware that’s preseasoned and ready to use right out of the box. More »

Mauviel M'collection

Skillets • Sets • And More

Handmade in France exclusively for us, this stainless collection pairs centuries of technique with modern technology. More »

Mauviel M’cook

Skillets • Sets • And More

Beautiful 5-ply stainless steel with an aluminum core that works on all cooking surfaces including induction. More »

Mauviel M'elite

Sauté pans • Saucepans • And More

Impeccable five-ply construction ensures that you'll use this handcrafted, elegant collection for years to come. More »

Mauviel M'heritage

Skillets • Sets • And More

Performance-focused copper cookware with a non-reactive stainless steel interior and superior durability. More »

Mauviel M'stone

Skillets • Sets • And More

Handmade in France, this nonstick collection perfectly blends traditional craftsmanship and modern convenience. More »

Scanpan Classic

Skillets • Lids

Professional-grade skillets, with ultra-durable ceramic titanium interiors, are perfect for every day use. More »

Scanpan CSX

Skillets • Sets • And More

Eco-friendly constructed from 100% recycled materials. The stainless steel interiors are ideal for sautéing, frying, caramelizing, searing and more. More »

Scanpan CTX

Skillets • Sets • And More

Scanpan is the first producer of nonstick cookware certified PFOA free, so it's safe for you and the earth. More »

Scanpan Pro IQ

Skillets • Sets • And More

Suitable for all cooking surfaces. Safe for use with metal utensils and enables browning, braising, searing & deglazing. More »

Staub Cast Iron

Skillets • Cocottes • More

Enameled cast iron has excellent heat distribution. Tight-fitting lids have spikes for continuous self-basting. More »

Sur La Table Cast Iron

Skillets • Sets • And More

Our take on the classic Dutch oven is ideal for braising larger cuts of meat or slow-cooking soups, stews and more. More »

Sur La Table Nonstick

Cookware Sets • And More

Twice as hard as stainless steel, collection features the most advanced three-coat nonstick surface available. More »

Sur La Table Tri-Ply

Skillets • Sets • And More

Aluminum and stainless steel provide even heat distribution. Goes from stovetop to oven with stay-cool handles. More »

Zwilling Spirit Ceramic

Skillets • Sets • And more

Durable and eco-friendly, this stainless steel cookware boasts an exceptional nonstick surface at a considerable value. More »

 

Better Braising

Braising Pans 101

The braiser, also known as the bistro or buffet casserole, is handsome enough to go directly from the oven or stove top to the table. It is relatively shallow (2½ to 3 inches deep) and has a large cooking surface, making it suitable for sautéing, browning, and braising compact foods such as chicken, fish, chops, and vegetables. The snug-fitting domed lid locks in the juices and allows the condensation to drip back onto the food, keeping it moist while it slowly cooks. The pan, which has two looped opposing handles, is available in relatively lightweight, polished stainless steel–clad aluminum that heats up quickly and cleans easily. The other choice is a matte-finished enameled cast iron, which is a much heavier pan and heats more slowly but holds the heat longer, making it perfect for keeping foods warm on a buffet.

Braising Tips

1. Choose the right cooking utensil. A flame-proof Dutch oven will allow you to sear the meat in the pot, then continue the cooking at a slower pace in the oven. An oval pot is perfect for a long cut of meat, such as pork loin or for a whole chicken.

2. Pat the meat completely dry before browning and season it with salt and pepper. If the meat is floured, shake off any excess flour before adding it to the pot.

3. Working in batches, brown the meat over medium-high heat, so it sears without burning. Use oil, not butter, for browning.

4. If after browning, the fat in the pot is discolored, pour it out. Wipe out and discard any burned bits with a wadded paper towel.

5. Braises cooked on the stove top risk burning from the direct heat. Instead, put the covered pot in a 300°F oven, where the liquid is less likely to cook away and result in scorched contents. Bring to a simmer on the stove top before placing in the oven.

6. The cooking liquid should be kept at a light simmer, not a boil, and the food should be surrounded by steam. If necessary, reduce the oven temperature to 275°F to keep the liquid from cooking too fast.

7. Don’t overcook braises and stews. Cook the meat just until it is fork-tender. Overcooking yields dry, stringy meat with no flavor.

8. If you have the time, let the braise cool completely and reheat before serving. For the very best marriage of flavors, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Using a Double Boiler

Melting Lots of Chocolate? Improvise a Larger Double Boiler

A variation on the double boiler method is good for large amounts of chocolate. Put the chopped chocolate in a wide stainless-steel bowl. Now place the bowl in a large skillet of very hot water, taking care not to splash any water in the chocolate. With a larger surface area of the chocolate exposed to heat, the chocolate will melt more quickly than in a double boiler.

Improvising a Double Boiler

You can use a stainless-steel bowl that fits snugly into the rim of a saucepan. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water in the saucepan.

Double Boilers 101

Every kitchen should have a double boiler for making moderate amounts of delicate sauces and for keeping heat-sensitive foods, such as mashed potatoes, warm. In some cases, the food is actually cooked by the steam in the double boiler, so the water should boil, rather than simmer, to create sufficient steam.

The double boiler is designed for foods that call for gentle heat, or if you wish to cook food slowly without the risk of it burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. It consists of two separate parts: the top part holds the food and the bottom holds the hot or gently simmering water that gently diffuses the heat. The steam that rises from the hot water heats the top part and in turn the food.

Use Your Double Boiler for an Easier Way to Make Polenta

Traditionally, polenta requires constant stirring as it cooks, but you can make it in a metal double boiler for a nearly labor-free version. In the top pan of the double boiler, bring the polenta, water, and salt to a boil directly over medium heat, whisking often. Meanwhile, pour water to a depth of 2 inches into the bottom pan and bring to a gentle boil. When the polenta mixture is smooth, place the top pan over (not touching) the water in the bottom pan, cover, and cook, whisking occasionally, until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan, no longer tastes grainy, and is fluffy, about 30 minutes.

Frying

Skillets 101

The terms skillet and frying pan are frequently used interchangeably. Both refer to a shallow pan with a long handle and sloping sides in sizes that range from small (6 to 8 inches) to medium (10 to 11 inches) to large (12 to 14 inches). Skillets are typically used—and therefore sold—without a lid, and their sloping sides make it easy to stir and turn foods or to catch foods tossed in the air as you sauté.

Cooking with Skillets

Use any metal skillet without a nonstick coating for sautéing poultry or meat. The bits of food—proteins and sugars—that stick to the bottom of the pan and form a browned crust on the food and the pan will add lots of flavor to the finished dish. Deglaze the pan with wine or broth to create a delicious pan sauce.

Aluminum and also aluminum-core stainless-steel (without the nonstick finish) skillets are relatively lightweight and sturdy, making them good all-purpose pans for sautéing.

Many experienced cooks preheat a skillet over medium-low to medium heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact before adding any fat to it. Preheating ensures that the food is less likely to stick and burn.

A Note on Nonstick Skillets

Food cooked in a nonstick pan will not adhere to the surface, which means you need to add little or no fat. Use pans with a non-stick coating for foods typically cooked over low to medium-low heat, such as eggs, toasted nuts, or gently sautéed vegetables. Do not use metal utensils in a nonstick pan (they will scratch the finish). Nonstick skillets should not be used under the broiler but can be used in the oven up to 400°F.

Deep Fry Like a Pro: 10 Tips for Better Results

1. Pick the right pot. To deep-fry properly, the food should cook in 2 to 3 inches of hot oil. Choose a pot at least 6 inches deep to allow for bubbling without bubbling over. Cast iron (enameled or not) holds heat well, making it a good choice.

2. Use reasonably priced cooking oil. Canola, cottonseed, safflower, or a generic vegetable oil blend will all do.

3. Don’t reuse deep-frying oil. Although you can strain the cooled oil for another round or two of deep-frying, this is a sure way of transferring unwanted flavors to your food, and the freshness of the oil obviously is reduced with storage.

4. Use a deep-frying thermometer. It’s the only way to get an accurate reading of the oil temperature. Be sure the end of the thermometer is totally submerged in the oil. Keep the heat on high to maintain the correct oil temperature.

5. To reduce deep-frying odors, cook outside. There is no reliable way to avoid the odors caused by deep-frying inside.

6. Let the oil return to its correct frying temperature between batches. In most cases, you may add the food to 375°F oil, but the temperature will drop to 335°F or so for the actual cooking. After removing the food, be sure to reheat the oil over high heat to its original starting temperature.

7. Use a wire skimmer to remove food from the oil. Also called a spider, these wide-mesh skimmers do a better job of draining away oil than a slotted skimmer.

8. Don’t drain fried foods on paper. Most cooks use paper towels or brown paper bags to absorb the fat from drained foods. But a crunchy coating can soften where it comes into contact with the paper: the steam builds up at the contact point and has nowhere to go but into the coating. For the crispiest result, drain the food on a wire cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, so the food comes into contact only with thin wires.

9. Keep deep-fried food warm in the oven before serving. Deep-fried food is best served piping hot right out of the pot, which isn’t always possible when cooking multiple batches. Once you have put the food on the wire rack/baking sheet, slip the whole thing into a preheated 200°F oven for up to 10 minutes.

10. Add salt just before serving. Salt can soften homemade potato chips and other fried foods, so to keep them from losing their crunch, sprinkle on the salt at the last minute.

Pan Fry Meat Without Added Oil

There’s no need to add oil to the skillet when pan frying steaks or chops. Trim a piece of fat from the perimeter of the meat. As the skillet is heating, grasp the fat with tongs and rub it over the inside of the skillet, creating a thin coating of fat. That will be just enough to keep the meat from sticking.

Making Omelets

Omelet Pans 101

An omelet pan is similar to a skillet but, for ease in handling, the sides should slope continuously (without a ridge) so the cooked omelet can roll out of the pan easily. It also has a super-comfortable handle that comes straight out of the side of the pan, rather than tilting upward. They are typically made from various stainless-steel constructions, cast iron, and cast aluminum.

Omelet Tips

An omelet is made in a matter of minutes, so everything must be ready to go. Have the warm filling in a side pan or at room temperature in a small bowl and have the eggs beaten. Using the correct temperature is important. When the butter foams and then the foam begins to subside, the pan is hot enough to add the eggs.

Cookware Notes

Aluminum Cookware 101

Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor, absorbing it both efficiently and evenly. But it reacts with many common ingredients, such as salt, all acidic foods (including tomatoes and wine), and eggs, discoloring them and imparting a metallic taste. For this reason, uncoated aluminum pans are not recommended. However, aluminum can be anodized (treated with an electrolytic process) to produce excellent cookware with a dark gray, hard, smooth surface that is resistant to corrosion and is nonreactive.

Ceramic Cookware 101

Ceramic cookware is made from clay and non-clay products molded and fired until hard. Ceramic is not a good conductor of heat, so foods cooked in ceramic vessels heat more slowly, allowing flavors to mingle. It also keeps crusting to a minimum, which is helpful when making a potato gratin that could scorch if baked in a metal pan. Most dishes cooked in ceramic are served directly from the vessel. If cooking on a stove top, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid breakage and use a heat diffuser.

Three Types of Ceramic Cookware: Earthenware, Stoneware and Porcelain

Earthenware is a highly porous material and must be glazed to become water-resistant. It is also somewhat delicate and prone to chipping, so take care when handling earthenware vessels. Wash them by hand with soap and water. Never put them in a dishwasher, which can break down the glaze.

Stoneware is fired at high temperatures, which makes it durable enough to stand up to constant use. Covered baking dishes, suitable for casseroles, are often made of stoneware.

Pure porcelain if thin is translucent, but for durability, cookware is often made from porcelaneous materials that contain less white clay and is therefore less likely to break. Because porcelain is white, it complements a wide range of foods and is the preferred material for soufflé dishes and ramekins.

Copper Cookware 101

Copper transfers heat rapidly and evenly throughout the pan, while cooling rapidly off the heat. Since copper reacts with acidic ingredients, these pots and pans are typically lined with tin or stainless steel. Tin is soft and scratches easily (and may need to be replaced with use), but stainless steel is durable, making it the choice of many chefs.

Unlined copper bowls can be used to whip egg whites (the copper chemically interacts with the whites, helping to stabilize them), and unlined copper pots can be used to cook such high-sugar mixtures as syrups, jams, and jellies.

Some copper pots are treated with a clear lacquer finish that must be removed before use. To remove it, rub the pan with a soft cloth dipped in acetone (available at beauty-supply stores). Or, immerse the pot in a large pot of boiling water to which a tablespoon of baking soda has been added. The coating will loosen and peel away.

Dutch Ovens 101

When making braised dishes that require long, even cooking, most cooks reach for a Dutch oven. Cast iron is a common material for this classic covered cooking vessel, but an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is more versatile because it won’t react with foods. (On the other hand, uncoated cast iron is ideal for heating oil because it holds the heat well.) A Dutch oven with an aluminum core and stainless-steel interior is also an excellent option.

Dutch ovens are supposed to be heavy, the better to diffuse the heat from the stove and keep braised foods from scorching. The lid makes up one-third of the total weight of most pots. So lighten the load by removing the lid before lifting the pot.

Steel Cookware 101

Carbon steel, where the main alloy is carbon, is a favorite material for woks and crepe and omelet pans because it is thin, light, and heats quickly to a high temperature. Blue steel is carbon steel that has been heat treated, a process that turns the steel blue and ensures the pan resists oxidation.

Some steel pans are sold with a clear lacquer finish that must be removed before the pan can be used. To remove it, rub the pan with a soft cloth dipped in acetone (available in beauty-supply stores). Pans without a lacquer coating have probably been oiled before sale to keep them from rusting. Wash them well with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly.

Baking Dishes 101

For many cooks, the baking dish is the most popular piece of cookware in their kitchen. At one end of the spectrum is the tempered-glass baking dish, known for its durability and practicality. It is the dish our mothers and grandmothers kept in their cupboards and used daily for comforting casseroles. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the handcrafted clay and the colorful enameled cast-iron baking dishes. In some cases, these dishes are more durable than basic glass and are typically admired for their beauty and design. Some are so beautiful you’ll display them on a sideboard, instead of tucking them into a cabinet.

Baking dishes should be least 2 inches deep. The sides are either straight or slanted, and the shapes are round, oval, rectangular, or square. Many are microwave safe, and some can even go from the freezer to the oven. Every kitchen ideally has a selection of sizes, materials, and shapes.

Saucepans 101

The classic saucepan for the home kitchen has always been a round pan with relatively high, straight sides and a long handle. The capacity is usually 1 to 4 quarts, sometimes with ½-quart variations. Saucepans come in a range of metals and always with a tight-fitting lid. The larger pans sometimes have an opposing handle to help even the load when lifting.

Using Your Nonstick Cookware

Use medium or medium-low heat when cooking in nonstick cookware because very high heat (above 500°F) can damage the coating. Nonstick cookware can be preheated, but only over moderate heat, and the food should be added as soon as the pan reaches the desired cooking temperature. It can be used in the oven, but not above 400°F. Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations as the exact temperature limits can vary by brand.

Cooking with Cast Iron

Cast Iron Cookware 101

If you’re looking for a piece of cookware that will last a lifetime, look no further. The secret to the iron skillet’s longevity is the extra-thick cast iron used to make it and its versatility in the kitchen. Cast iron isn’t a fast conductor of heat, but once it gets hot, it distributes the heat evenly and steadily, holding its temperature like an oven.

Cooking with Cast Iron

This is the skillet to use for techniques that require a sustained medium to high temperature: pan frying, stir-frying, searing meat, browning onions, cooking bacon, and even baking corn bread. A cast-iron skillet can be moved from the stove top to a hot oven or broiler to finish cooking.

Seasoning Your Cast-Iron Cookware

The cast iron will rust if it’s not properly seasoned. Seasoning occasionally will keep surfaces smooth and practically nonstick. Season a cast-iron skillet prior to its use. With a paper towel or clean cloth, rub the entire skillet—inside, outside, and the handle—with a thin film of vegetable oil. Don’t use too much oil or the pan will be sticky. Put both oven racks in the lowest positions in the oven, and place a sheet of aluminum foil on the lower rack to catch any dripping oil. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Invert the skillet on the rack above the foil and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the skillet cool in the oven. Repeat as needed.

The Double Boiler

Using Your Double Boiler

Double-boiler tops or inserts are not designed to be used directly over the heat, although metal inserts can be used cautiously over very low heat for a short period of time. The bottom pan can sometimes do double duty as an independent saucepan. The double boiler is perfect for melting butter or chocolate, making custard or other egg-based sauces, and warming or cooking other heat-sensitive foods, such as cooked rice or mashed potatoes.

Add water to a depth of about 2 inches to the bottom pan, or just enough to avoid touching the bottom of the insert. Keep the heat level low because if too much steam is generated, the top part will get too hot and ruin the temperature-sensitive food you’re cooking.

Alternative Uses for Your Double Boiler

A double boiler is great for cooking polenta and other slow-cooked cornmeal-based dishes and for keeping food warm, such as mashed potatoes or soup, without fear of scorching. Also great for reheating leftovers.

Easy Steaming

Steamers 101

There are many pieces of equipment sold as steamers and steamer inserts. The most popular is the simple, inexpensive steaming basket designed with leaves that fold in and out around a central rod. Called a collapsible steamer, it fits in the smallest pan and is handy for steaming small amounts of vegetables or other foods.

The most versatile and convenient steamer is a stainless-steel insert that fits snugly into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Some companies make steamers that are sold separately but are designed to fit a specific pot such as a 3-quart saucepan, 6-quart Dutch oven, or an 8-quart stockpot. You can also purchase a steamer set that typically includes a stainless-steel steamer insert, a clad stainless-steel pot with an aluminum base, and a lid.

Cooking with Your Steamer

Beets, artichokes, broccoli, corn on the cob, carrots and cauliflower are just a few of the many nutritious and flavorful vegetables that are good candidates for steaming. Steamers are also good for cooking such shellfish as mussels, clams, and lobsters.

Collapsible steamers work well for small steamed fish steaks or fillets. A steamer is handy for reheating rice and some vegetables. Some 8-quart stockpots come with a deep steamer insert. Although it is typically called a pasta insert, it can be used for steaming large batches of bigger foods, such as corn, tamales, lobsters, and pumpkin.

Easily Improvise a Steamer

A cake rack set in a sauté pan or broad pot (such as a Dutch oven) and topped with a heatproof plate will work as a steamer. Add vegetables, fish steaks, cooked rice, or other foods to the plate. Make sure the pot has a tight-fitting lid to prevent steam from escaping.

A Note of Caution on Steamer Cooking

Steam is very hot and can cause painful burns, so protect your hands with an oven mitt when lifting the lid and removing the steamer insert from a pot of steaming water.

Wok Tips

Seasoning Your Wok

New carbon steel and iron woks must be seasoned before using in any way. If your wok did not include seasoning instructions, wash it well in plenty of hot water with a mild dish soap, and then scrub it both inside and outside with a scouring pad to completely remove the manufacturer’s protective coating of sticky oil. Then, place the wok on the stove top over high heat and heat until very hot. Remove from the heat and rub the interior with a thick wad of paper towels coated with vegetable oil. Let the wok cool completely and repeat the process at least twice. Rub the wok dry with a paper towel before using.

Woks 101

The Chinese wok was originally made of iron and only later of carbon steel, an excellent conductor of heat. Today, woks are available in carbon steel, stainless steel, enameled cast iron, aluminum, and other materials. The pan’s classic shape—a deep bowl with sloping sides—is ideal for the rapid stirring and flipping over high heat that defines stir-frying.

Cooking with Your Wok

The wok is a versatile piece of cookware. In addition to stir-frying, steaming, and deep-frying, it can be used for sautéing, braising meats, boiling shrimp, and even smoking. An all stainless-steel wok requires more oil to keep food from sticking than a carbon-steel wok.

Frequent use will be help the wok develop its own natural nonstick finish, or patina. Woks are available with a nonstick finish and should only be used with wooden or other nonmetallic heatproof tools to protect the surface from nicks and scratches.

Making Crepes

Crepe Pans 101

The French crepe pan is basically a frying pan with low sides and an easy-to-grasp long, narrow handle. They are primarily made of blue steel, nonstick aluminum, or other metals. The pan must conduct, distribute, and retain heat efficiently to turn out perfect crepes.

Cooking with Your Crepe Pan

Preheat the pan on low heat. Cook the crepes on medium-low heat. The batter should begin to set the moment it hits the pan. Adjust the amount of batter to the pan size. Small (6- to 8-inch) pans require 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter, whereas larger pans will need up to 1⁄3 cup of batter. Most pans require only one very light application of butter. Apply softened or melted butter by rubbing it into the warm pan with a paper towel or a silicone pastry brush.

Creating the Perfect Crepe

Getting the batter to coat the bottom of the hot pan quickly and evenly takes practice. You need to rotate your wrist smoothly so that the batter swirls and flows outward simultaneously. The first crepe is never perfect but, even if it tears or needs to be patched, it will still taste good.

Some pans come with a rabot, a T-shaped tool made from two wooden dowels, for spreading the batter. It works best in a large crepe pan. Some crepe pan sets include a flat wooden slat with a pointed tip. Use the tip to release the set edges of the crepe, so you can easily lift and turn the crepe.

Using a Grill Pan

Grill Pans 101

The grill pan comes in all sizes and shapes (round, square, and rectangular) and is made from a variety of materials, such as steel and aluminum blends, or cast iron. Designed for use on the stovetop, it has raised grids that leave seared grill marks on the surface of the food. The wells between the grids catch fat and juices, leaving the surface of the food dry—a boon for anyone interesting in low-fat cooking.

Cooking With Your Grill Pan

Before adding the food to the grill pan, preheat it over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Oil the grill pan or the food, just as you would when using an outdoor grill. The grill pan is perfect for quickly heating up hot dogs or fully cooked sausages, and great for grilled sandwiches, thin cutlets, chicken breasts, and vegetables.

Food cooks more slowly on a grill pan than it does on a flat surface, because contact with the food is limited to the grids. Hamburgers are only successful on a grill pan if the patties are less than ½” thick. This is true of most meats cooked on the grill pan. Vegetables cook best when they are thinly cut, so all surfaces will come in contact with the hot grid.

Cooks' Secrets

Bake Your Bacon to Reduce Splattering and Shrinkage

Frying is the traditional way to cook bacon, but the high heat can make the bacon fat splatter all over the stove. Baking applies lower heat, reducing bacon. Arrange the bacon slices side by side on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Remove rendered fat as it accumulates with a bulb baster, if necessary. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Top Five Tips for Roasting

1. Preheat the oven for at least 20 minutes. One common roasting technique starts the meat or poultry at a high temperature to give the food a head start. Because high heat increases meat shrinkage, it may be better to start the meat at a moderate (350°F) temperature. Check its progress during the last 15 minutes of roasting, and if the meat isn’t browned enough for your taste, raise the heat to 450°F to encourage browning.

 

2. Bring poultry and meat to room temperature before roasting. Allow about 1 hour for a whole chicken or other bird and about 2 hours for large cuts of meat. Season them during this time so the seasonings have a chance to penetrate.

3. Roast meat and poultry on a roasting rack. If the meat sits in its own juices, the moisture will inhibit browning. Some cuts of meat, such as rib roast and bone-in pork loin, won’t need a rack because the bones lift the meat off the pan bottom.

4. Always use a cooking thermometer to test for doneness. Be sure the end of the probe has reached the center of the meat. With poultry, the thermometer is placed in the thickest part of the thigh because that is the most difficult area for the heat to reach. Don’t let the thermometer touch a bone or the reading will be skewed, as bone conducts heat at a different rate than flesh.

5. Let roasted meat and poultry stand for at least 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the roast. Large roasts over 3 pounds should stand for 20 minutes and turkeys for 20 to 45 minutes.

Five Tips for Successful Sautéing

1. The secret behind successful sautéing is to use medium-high heat and a small amount of oil. In fact, meats and other protein-based foods should not be turned too often because extended contact with the hot skillet will brown the surface of the food, delivering extra flavor.

 

2. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. If the pan is too hot, you might burn the outside of the food before the inside is cooked.

3. Use oil, not butter, for sautéing. Butter contains milk solids that burn and smoke at high temperatures. If you want a butter flavor, use it in the pan sauce.

4. Use a double-cooking method for thick cuts. Double-cut pork and lamb chops, porterhouse steaks, and large bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves are too thick to cook through in a skillet on the stove top. It’s best to brown them in the skillet, then finish cooking them in a 400°F oven. Be sure that the skillet is ovenproof.

5. Always make a pan sauce to take advantage of the browned bits in the pan, which are loaded with flavor.

Tips for Toasting Nuts and Seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts or seeds in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan and place in the oven. Toast for 8 to 15 minutes, until the nuts are the desired color. If you are toasting unskinned nuts, cut a nut in half and check the darkness of the inside.

You can toast small quantities of nuts or seeds in a small, dry skillet set over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly, for 2 to 5 minutes, or until the nuts or seeds are toasted or fragrant. Because nuts and seeds are high in fat, you don’t need to add any fat to the skillet, unless you want the extra flavor of a drizzle of oil or a teaspoon of butter.

Care & Storage

Caring for Your Aluminum Cookware

Wash anodized aluminum cookware in warm, soapy water, using a mild scouring powder when needed. Do not put it in the dishwasher.

Caring for Your Cast Iron Cookware

Clean a seasoned cast-iron pan by sprinkling it generously with coarse salt and rubbing with clean paper towels. If you must use a mild deterent and warm water, make sure to immediately reseason the pan. Wipe a just-washed skillet dry with a paper towel or dish cloth, and set it over low heat to dry thoroughly. While still warm, use a paper towel to rub in a small amount of vegetable oil. Store in a dry place. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Caring for Copper Cookware

Copper may discolor in moist air, forming a green patina called verdigris. To clean copper, make a paste of equal parts salt and flour moistened with distilled white vinegar or lemon juice. Or dip the cut side of a lemon in coarse salt, and use it as a kind of scrubbing pad. In either case, rinse the copper and dry it immediately after cleaning.

Storing Your Nonstick Cookware

If you stack nonstick skillets for storage, the non-stick coating can be damaged from the nesting. Place a piece of rubber shelf liner or a double thickness of paper towels between the skillets to protect them.

Caring for Your Steel Cookware

To clean a pan made from blue or carbon steel, wipe out the interior with kosher salt and a little hot water to remove cooked food, then rinse well. Avoid soap and dishwashers, or you will remove the seasoning and have to reseason. Carbon steel is prone to rusting. To prevent this, dry thoroughly after washing, then place over medium heat for a few minutes. Finally, rub the pan lightly with a paper towel dampened with canola, peanut, or vegetable oil before storing in a dry place.

Storing Your Steel Cookware

Do not slip into a plastic bag, which can trap moisture that will encourage rusting.

Caring for Your Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel is dishwasher safe, but warm, soapy water will do the job, too. To keep exteriors shiny, look for a mild scouring powder such as Bar Keepers Friend designed specifically for stainless steel.

Caring for Your Baking Dishes

Soak with a bit of detergent or baking soda to help loosen baked-on particles. Many are dishwasher safe. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Caring for Your Braiser

Both stainless steel and enameled cast iron wash like a dream. Warm, soapy water and a stiff brush or scouring pad are all you need. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Caring for Your Grill Pan

Never scour a grill pan with abrasive cleaners. Instead, soak the pan in warm, soapy water, loosen cooked-on particles with a stiff brush, rinse, and dry.

Storing Your Grill Pan

Before storing a washed grill pan, rub all of its surfaces with flavorless cooking oil until they are dry, with no trace of oil remaining.

Caring for Your Saucepans

Wash in warm, soapy water. Use a stiff brush to remove cooked-on food, but avoid harsh abrasives. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Caring for Your Skillets

Most skillets are easily cleaned with soapy, warm water and a stiff plastic brush. Do not scrub nonstick skillets with wire scrubbers. When cooking in a skillet, stir or turn foods with silicone, wooden, or other heat-resistant spatulas, whisks, or spoons that won’t scratch the interior, whether it has a nonstick coating or not. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Caring for Your Steamer

Clean with warm, soapy water. Stainless steel is dishwasher safe. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Caring for Your Wok

Always clean a wok immediately after use, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Not recommended for dishwashers. Do not use a metal scouring pad or detergent on a seasoned carbon-steel wok. Loosen any cooked-on bits with very hot water and a plastic scrubber. Dry thoroughly with a paper towel or cloth and rub the surface with a little vegetable oil. Store in a dry place.

Caring for Your Crepe Pan

The traditional steel crepe pan must be seasoned before use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Crepe pans generally need little or no washing. Use a mild soap if necessary, but never use any abrasive detergents. The best pans are cleaned by wiping them with a damp paper towel and then buffing them dry. Never place any crepe pan in a dishwasher.

Seasoning Your Omelet Pan

If you prefer a French iron omelet pan, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for seasoning it. In general, seasoning is simple: scour the pan with steel wool, rinse it in warm, soapy water, dry it well, heat it until hot, rub it with an oil-soaked paper towel, and let stand overnight before using.

Caring for Your Omelet Pan

An improperly cleaned omelet pan will become sticky. To clean a sticky pan, rub it hard with a teaspoon of table salt and a handful of paper towels. Once a French iron pan has been seasoned, it can be wiped clean with a paper towel. If it needs to be washed with soap and water, you must reseason it before using. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

 
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