Best saute pan for Aga hoplate
Ok, so this should be simple, but...
An Aga hotplate is 30cm in diameter, I want a pan to perfectly get all the energy from the perfectly flat hotplate. Id prefer a non enamelled saute pan with straight sides, a lid, and quite deep. Prefer cast iron that can be seasoned. Would like two handles one either side. Everywhere I look, no pans have a perfectly flat bases (edge to edge - as anything that isnt in full contact is wasting energy to my kitchen). All cast iron casseroles are enamelled and/or dont have machined/spun bases so arent perfectly flat. Im in the UK. Anyone have any recommendations? Can cast iron pans be milled perfectly flat? Many thanks.
I'm not 100% sure what you're after here...
There is no shortage of flat-bottomed CI cookware out there, and there are 30cm rondeaux and marmites that fit your description. Contrary to your assertion, not all CI casseroles are enameled on the bottom. Le Creuset makes a 13Q round oven that is 14 inches in diameter and a skillet that runs 15.75" at the rim.
30 cm pans are quite large for home cooking. The idea of the AGA elements is that you can put *several* pans on either or both elements. If a little extra heat escaping into the kitchen whilst the cover is raised and the element not perfectly covered bothers you, I suggest that an AGA isn't for you.
Yes, the bottoms of CI pans can be milled to dead flat. But beware that skilled machinists' time is dear, and these bottoms are already engineered to be somewhat thin. You need to be careful to remove a minimum of material.
Thanks very much for getting back to me Kaleo!
Yes, I can see what you mean by a solution in search of problem! I guess if I rephrase this as me looking to find the best theoretical solution for transferring heat from aga hotplates into pans per se. Also, 30cm is big for home cooking agreed, but I have a lot of people to cook for!
This all arose because Im about to buy a set of new pans so it got me thinking about the best solution for an Aga. I was thinking of the science (!!) in that any enamel present will be an insulator, and that conductance will be improved with a milled/flat finish. Most of the Le Creuset type pans seem to fail on both these counts, although admittedly they have been around for a long time, so must be doing something right! Just curious I guess.
In the case of the 30cm pan, your suggestion of "rondeau" seems to be exactly the style I mean (straight shallow sides), although I dont seem to see many of them on UK websites, so perhaps they are known as something else over here. All I need is one of them with a very flat bottom and a lid in reality! I like the idea of seasoned cast iron (have a flat wok already like this and works well in that respect, poorly due to minimal surface contact with the hotplate), so quite fancied the idea of a CI, non enamelled rondeau with milled bottom...
:: Can cast iron pans be milled perfectly flat? ::
Yes. The flat machined bases of enameled cast iron pieces made in a Danish factory, marketed as Copco in the US and Nacco in the UK from 1960 into the late 70s-early 80s, work so well on Agas that Aga now sells them.
None of the bases of those casseroles and paella pans are anywhere near 30 cm, though.
If bare cast iron is what you want, I second the suggestion of the chicken fryer.
There's a 3mm, tin-lined 28cm rondeau that Mauviel makes/made for Williams-Sonoma; it's regularly on ebay for around $300-350. That's what I'd get if I were wanting to make use of that hotplate.