Since going paleo and using copious amounts of lard to cook with, I suddenly realized I do not need to fry with a teflon pan any more.
I want to try something else and indeed have tried out a couple of sad looking affairs which left me scrubbing off scrambled egg for days (and getting seriously pissed off too).
I am not sure what to buy with a limited budget, but would absolutely splash out on some pans that would last me for the rest of my life IF I am 100% sure they are not leaking something else like lead or aluminum into my food.
Does anyone have any experience frying with non-non-stick pans and if so do you have any recommendations, brand names, tips or advice for the serious seeker of non-carcinogenic cookware?
I heard copper pans are actually GOOD for you......is this true and if so are they any good to cook with?
I use cast iron and enamel cookware. A while back I did a ton of research and settled on these.
I use all three every single day.
I have stainless steel soup pots and a large skillet. Stainless steel reacts poorly with nightshade fruits; but we won't be using much of those on a paleo diet, right? ;)
Cast iron pans are great.
http://www.lodgemfg.com/ was reviewed by America's Test Kitchen as the right combination of quality & price. My wife and I cook with them and love'em.
A little tip on getting that stuck food unstuck is to immediately add a glass of water to the already hot pan (once you have removed the food of course. Turn the heat on high for a little bit and let the water boil for a minute. I think its known as deglazing but the cooked on bits will EASILY scrape off of plain SS pans with just a wooden or plastic spatula.
I agree with others, cast iron is the best for sauteing and frying foods. I have only one currently, but it gets daily use and will last a lifetime. Just be sure never to use soap to clean it. Hot water and a scrubby pad is all that is needed (and sometimes a short soak in water--and I mean short so that it doesn't rust). Dry it immediately after washing to keep from rusting.
The rest of my pots are stainless steel for cooking soups, stews, stocks, and a stainless steel roasting pan for my roasts.
Cast iron pans are awesome after you get them seasoned right. They're inexpensive, too. Often you can find used ones at thrift stores. I make the best omelettes I've ever had in the ones I just got.
I totally agree that cast iron pans, properly seasoned, are the absolute best. I wipe mine with oil after cleaning and set it on the warm element or in a warm oven to dry.
And because they are so heavy they are very paleo- after all, we are supposed to "lift heavy things" aren't we? ;)
I use Cuisinart Green Gourmet. It has some disadvantages, like you cannot use high heat because of the ceramic interior, and it sticks a little bit more than teflon. It cleans easily (but no dishwasher) I have a hard time using cast iron, although some people are in love with it. I had stainless steel for a while, but I wasn't crazy about it either.
Cast iron is definitely the way to go. To season the pan put some lard/fat in the pan to coat it nicely then put the whole mess in the oven on low (under 300) for a couple of minutes to let the iron heat up and take in the oil. Then pull it out of the oven let it cool but while it's still warm just rinse out any excess oil with hot water NO SOAP EVER.
Olvida makes cast-iron cookware with a non-stick nickel plating. They are pretty expensive, but if you have the means they seem a nice trade-off between the convenience of a teflon coating with the heat capacity properties of cast-iron. Also, unlike teflon coated pans, they will never wear-out. Take that, planned obsolescence. In that regard Olvida might be considered an economy. OK, not really. ;-)
Also, as with anything, there are multiple kinds and qualities of cast iron. Good cast iron will have its surface machined. Machining, often called polishing, removes the top few hundreds of an inch where the molten iron contacts the casting mold sand. This makes for a smoother pan with lesser sticking qualities. A great post on cast iron with some even better comments is at the French Culinary Institute's blog. In particular, some myths and realities of seasoning are discussed.
If you are switching to cast iron for the first time, be sure to thoroughly pre-heat the pan before cooking. This has two purposes. Cast iron is both heavy and not highly conductive so it's going to take some time for the pan to reach a homogeneous temperature. Second, cast iron is porous. Pre-heating closes the pores, which prevents the sticking that comes about from food particles filling the pores. There's an old saying: "hat pan, cold oil, food won't stick."
Finally, realize eggs are a special case. Their protein structure is chemically attractive to metal, particularly stainless steal. Stainless steel is the absolute worst material for cooking eggs (Sorry, I don't have a cite at hand, but remember hearing it discussed by Lynne Kasper on her radio show a while back). You absolutely must have a fat layer insulating between the eggs and the stainless steel. Personally, we have a single teflon coated pan for frying eggs, then use cast iron for about everything else.
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