Ideal pan for searing a steak and making a pan sauce?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by inaweofchefs, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. inaweofchefs

    inaweofchefs

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    It is my understanding that non-stick cookware is not intended for searing heat, stainless steel produces a metallic taste with acidic foods, and acidic foods are bad for the seasoning on cast iron.  So, is what is the ideal pan for this purpose? 
     
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Non-anodized aluminum and cast iron can react with acidic foods but in my experience anodized aluminum and stainless steel will not react with them. Although I would say your best bet for a good sear and nonreactive qualities would be enameled cast iron.
     
  3. inaweofchefs

    inaweofchefs

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    Doesn't high heat risk cracking enamel?
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Stainless steel does not produce a metallic taste with acidic foods. It's quite non-reactive. If you're having this problem, there's probably something wrong with the steel of your pan. A clad stainless pan will produce an excellent steak and pan sauce.  A disk bottom stainless pan may scorch at the edges of the disk but is otherwise fine for the task as well.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    +1.

    Enamel over cast is very definitely not ideal for searing steaks. It can scorch and become extremely difficult to clean.

    Sear without an oven finish and no pan sauce, cast is marginally better than carbon steel, because it's heat retention makes it more stable.

    Sear with an oven finish and no pan sauce, carbon is marginally better than cast, because it doesn't hold the heat as well as cast and will not continue to sear for as long a period in the oven and off the stove top.

    Sear with an oven finish and a pan sauce, stainless is probably best.

    Take this with a grain of salt, you can make most pan sauces -- even those including tomato, wine, and/or vinegar without damaging a cast iron or carbon skillet's "cure," because pan sauces cook so quickly they don't have enough time to eat at the cure. Similarly, as long as the pan is well-preheated and reasonably efficient, losing a few therms when the steak hits the pan is no big deal. The fire will replace the heat shortly. And don't forget... Most of the best food you've eaten in restaurants was cooked in plain, inexpensive aluminum.

    If your current "core set" of cookware doesn't include at least a couple of reasonably good multi-ply skillets with stainless steel interiors they should be your first purchase.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  6. iceman

    iceman

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    OK. I agree. But still, I like cast the best I think. 
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Enameled cast iron is not good for searing, taking it from me - I've ruined my creuset because of high heat searing.  I treat my new enamel cast ironware much better now that I know how to.