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Nov 7, 2001 02:25 AM

Seasoning fry pans

  • s

While we are on the subject of cook ware...I have copper cookware w stainless steel on the inside. They are beautiful and work nicely most of the time. I still have trouble w foods sticking to the bottom of the pan. Is there a way to season the pans so this doesn't happen?

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    1. Make sure the pan is hot before you put anything in it...and of course make sure you use enough oil

      1. Stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and enamel are all sticky--a fact that All-Clad, Calphalon and Le Creuset never seem to mention about their products. Stickiness is actually a desirable trait if you're trying to build a sauce based on the carmelized juices, but it can be annoying. There's no way to 'season' these surfaces, but the hot pan/hot oil trick does seem to reduce sticking.

        I think you're thinking of cast iron, which does become pretty non-stick when you season it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Tom Meg

          I have heard a lot about getting a pan hot, then adding your oil and immediately putting your food in.

          I've tried it both ways (i.e. letting the oil get hot before adding the protein, or not) and haven't found a definitively preferential result.

          Does anyone know which works best under the laws of kitchen physics?

          1. re: Bob Brooks

            I grew up in a household where all the pots and pans were stainless. My mother had a special set of tools for scraping off the burnt-on gunk before washing.

            1. re: ironmom


              I dont know what the science is precisely, but IMO you definitely want to heat the pan up really well before the fat goes in, and then the fat should be hot before the food goes in. This is if you are cooking something, like meat or an omelet, that needs to be seared or sealed to cook properly and that you think is going to stick. Wouldnot do this if I were sauteeing onions or bacon, for example.

            2. re: Bob Brooks

              My own unscientific thought is that as long as you're not talking about large quantities of oil, any small amount of oil that you add to a very hot pan is going to heat up almost immediately, especially if it's a nice thick pan that retains heat well. I notice this when I'm doing steaks in a cast iron skillet: the cold oil poured into the blazing hot pan reaches the shimmering stage as fast as I can drop the steaks in, and smokes very soon afterwards. The advantage to the hot pan/cold oil technique seems to me to spare the oil the trauma of prolonged heating. This becomes an issue especially if you're using a delicately flavored oil, like olive, or if you're using a fat that would burn if you left it in a hot pan for too long (eg, butter, lard or chicken fat that still had some cracklins in it).

          2. It really depends on what you're cooking. If you're cooking meats or fish, use a little oil and they'll release from the bottom of the pan when they're done, all by themselves. If you're charring to the bottom of the pan, you might be using too high a heat (copper is the best cookware conductor, so it's easy to use too hot a flame). For things like eggs, use butter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Adam

              Also, if you move the food before it's formed a "skin," it will likely stick. Sometimes as the food just begins to seize up, you can give the pan a shake and it will move just enough to not stick. It's a matter of getting the feel of how your particular food, fat, and utensil work together.

              Also with regard to your copper pan. How thick it is may be part of the problem. In general the 2.5 thickness will yield more success. For me, however, the larger pans in that weight are a mite too heavy to handle.