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May 23, 2011 04:40 PM

Stove-to-oven skillet/deep frying pan

I've been wanting to buy some cookware that can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven for some time now. It will probably be a piece-by-piece process but the first item I want to get is a skillet/deep frying pan. Based on reading these boards and what I can buy/afford, my first thoughts were for cookware made of: cast iron; lined copper, or enamelled cast iron (will not be Le Creuset).

The kind of recipes I'd like to use the skillet for are things like frittata, tarte tatin, and also moderate stewing - I have some recipes where you sear the meat on the stove, add liquid and cook in the oven (I realise a deep frying pan is not ideal for the latter as a casserole would be, but like I said this would need to be a piece-by-piece process!). Given these needs, what kind of material would you recommend? If I want to stew or braise (in addition to the other requirements) would CI be appropriate, or would I just boil away any seasoning? Is lined copper too much of a hassle to clean?

Thanks very much!

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  1. I would also recommend that you consider All-Clad. I was able to buy several pieces, unused, on Ebay at good prices a few years back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: OCEllen

      I agree with this guy. I was in the same boat you were coming out of school, but you wont regret waiting a bit to get yourself a skillet that will last you a lifetime. Save every penny you can, get yourself an all clad stainless 12 inch skillet, a few months down the line get an all clad saucepan, and a few months after that get a le creuset dutch oven. With these three pieces of cookware you will be ready to conquer the world! It really is hard to scrimp and save for them, but remember they are an investment and will last your entire lifetime.

    2. The first thing that came to mind was a chicken fryer - this is a deep cast iron skillet, almost a dutch oven, that was traditionally used for southern fried chicken. My mom used to make pineapple upside down cake in it, as well as sausage stew with cornbread topping. It might be a bit deep, though, for frittata and tarte tatin. For those I'd consider a regular depth CI skillet.

      1. "my first thoughts were for cookware made of: cast iron; lined copper, or enamelled cast iron"

        Carbon steel cookware is another option. Carbon steel is similar to cast iron, but it is usually make thinner and therefore lighter. It is also tougher (more elastic).

        That said, I think a lot of restaurants uses bare aluminum cookwares for the kind of jobs you describe. They can go from stove to oven with no problem. They are also very inexpensive.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          The restaurant pans often come with a rubber handle, but it slips off, leaving bare metal that can go in the oven. On TV you often see chefs grabbing these handles with a towel.

          1. re: paulj

            For searing/roasting and finishing in the oven,but not adding any liquids,CI or carbon steel are great.SS and aluminium will go from stove top to oven and you can add liquids with no problems.

            For stewing and braising in the oven or on the stove top,I would recommend enamelled cast iron or SS. So in the end, having a few different pieces is a good idea.
            Why no Le Creuset?

            1. re: petek

              Too expensive for now. I've only recently left school. One day!

              The reason I specifically said not Le Creuset was that if there's a large variation in the quality of enamelled cast iron, I wanted people to realise I'd not be getting the top brand

              1. re: limoen

                If Le Creuset is too did you determine that copper was not?

                Don't discount can find it (dirt) cheap from Tuesday Morning, TJ Maxx, their outlet sales, etc.

                1. re: E_M

                  I have a few suggestions. First, I would abandon the idea of braising in a skillet. I too was a recent college graduate and tried to find a piece of cookware that would serve multiple needs, and it just didn't work. One piece...just can't do EVERYTHING.

                  1. A Le Creuset marmitout, which is 2 pieces in one: a skillet and a pot. You can make tarte tatins in the top alone, or braise in the pot with the skillet as the lid. Sur la Table and WS sell them (; they also come in a slightly smaller size if 3.5 qt is too much.

                  2. A regular skillet--I think Jacque Pepin uses a Calphalon anodized aluminum to make his tartes on his show, and I've seen these at TJ Maxx and Marshalls lately for $20. Add to that a Demeyere mussel pot ( for your braising needs. Like the marmitout, this breaks apart into 2 pots (you can use the lid as a small pot on the stove, or a bowl, whatever). Politeness says it is their go-to pot for beef stews. When you get tired of it as a dutch oven, it also boils water for pasta, potatoes, etc.

                  1. re: E_M

                    Thanks, that's a good point about expectations for cookware! I live in the UK but I'm sure I can find equivalents. It's sometimes difficult to find a balance between cookware as an investment and what I can afford right now and I was trying to bridge that, but doing so by having pans that are not quite right perhaps isn't the best way!

                    1. re: limoen

                      "pans that are not quite right perhaps isn't the best way"

                      While a poor graduate student, I made this mistake to the tune of $300. :: deep suffering sigh :: And none of them every worked quite right for anything. They did everything *ok*, but none terrifically.

                      You have more choices in the UK, especially for the marmitout. In fact, LC only recently reintroduced that here in the States, whereas I think it was always available in the UK.

                      1. re: limoen

                        TK Maxx sometimes have cast iron le creuset - they almost always have the LC poterie stuff as well. You can also find cast iron skillets in my local TK Maxx.

                        Don't discount Tesco either - I found one of my all-time favourite Brabantia 10-inch skillet with lid there on sale for about £20. I also have friends with the Tesco Finest copper bottomed saucepans and they rate them highly.

                        If you live near a John Lewis, wait until Debenhams have a Blue Cross sale on - that way you can get the John Lewis guarentee and customer service at the Debenham's sale prices, as JL price match.

          2. As some have already suggested All-Clad, your other alternative is looking at the "irregulars" from places such as Cookware & More out of PA. e.g. 13" French skillet is about $120 most places, and $85 as an irregular.

            or watch Macy and Bloomie sales.

            1. Hi, limoen:

              Let me answer your last question first: No, lined copper is not a hassle to clean. The SS-lined can be scraped aggressively, and the more delicate tin lining is easily "deglazed" clean and scrubbed out with a plastic scrubbie.

              If you are in the UK, I'd suggest looking for good copperware in the flea markets. You can find pans that are hundreds of Pounds new, but just a few used.


              2 Replies
              1. re: kaleokahu

                That was the plan, I know a few places I can get 'cheaper' lined copper if that's the side I come down on. Thanks for letting me know

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I have found the le creuset range especially the marmitout range exceptional to use. I have the volcanic colour, found the 22cm pan great for my needs.