Saucepans, griddles, casseroles and steamers
These are probably going to be the most important purchase a cook will make. There is so much rubbish out there and millions of pounds spent to beguile you into buying them, so here you really do need some help. What you want is something solid and reliable, and I have spent years searching out what I’ve now finally come to believe is the best.
Fortunately, about three years ago, I discovered a range of pans produced in Germany, made from heavy-gauge aluminium but with a non-stick surface called titanium, which is forty times harder than stainless steel. So, at last, high heat, no problem; metal utensils, no problem. Expensive, but one purchase is for life, so cheaper than a long line of dismal failures. All the pans, including the frying pans, have lids. And even the handles can withstand an oven temperature of up to gas mark 10, 500°F (250°C) which means the frying pan can then double up as a shallow casserole or a roasting tray.
Cast-iron ridged griddle
Since it’s now fashionable to char-grill so many things, this is a useful addition, and especially good for bruschetta, giving bread that lovely charred flavour.
I have found that an approximately 4 pint (2.25 litre) capacity flameproof casserole is a good, all-round family size and that a 6 pint (3.5 litre) casserole is a very useful size for entertaining.
Taking care of pans
Sorry, but there is one bit of bad news here. The chemicals in the dishwashing process tend not to be good for saucepans. So, just get into the habit of soaking them in cold water to get rid of any residue, then they will be easy to wash in warm, soapy water – and it will give you much more room in the dishwasher for other items.
I do like to steam lots of things so I’ve got three types of steamer. There’s the classic double-pan one that stands over a saucepan and will hold a large pudding; a fan steamer that is brilliant for vegetables, even asparagus, which I always trim and lay out horizontally; and finally, a Chinese bamboo steamer I use for fish.
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