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How to choose a cooking skillet

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This woman has got something else in mind for her skillet!
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Serious cooks choose a serious cooking skillet

You just got married and you and your spouse really like to cook, but you’ve been cooking on cast-off pans and pans and skillets from relatives and the Goodwill store that have seen far better days. You want to invest in a good cooking skillet because you are serious about cooking and entertaining, but you aren’t sure what it is you are looking for or why certain features make a difference.

Browse through the merchandise in a kitchen supply catalog. Look for a frying pan that has sides that are slightly flared and that is moderately high. This is a skillet.

The skillet is your all-purpose frying pan, as well as good for making omelettes. Skillets come in various sizes. The sizes that are most in demand are 8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch. If you are going to be making omelettes frequently consider buying a non-stick, high-quality skillet because it makes the process much easier. 

Generally speaking your skillet should be made of a metal that conducts heat effectively and efficiently. The types of skillets that do this best are stainless steel wrapped aluminum, cast iron, anodized aluminum and lined copper skillets.

A nonstick skillet has a quick-release feature, which means you don’t need to use as much fat (grease) when cooking. Some pans release more effectively than other. Those skillets that are grit-blasted or arc-prayed are considered top of the line coated skillets. 

Do not put your non-stick skillet on high heat because this can damage it. Some cooks don’t like the non-stick skillets because they believe it messes up the heat transfer to the food and as a consequence the food doesn’t brown as well as it would if cooked in a “stick” pan. You can get around this problem by buying a heat-conducting, heavy, thick gauge metal base skillet. 

Check out the handles on the skillets you are considering. Metal handles that are hollow and, which are constructed of metal other than what the skillet itself is made of is a good choice. You don’t want the handle to get hot. 

Handles that are “phenolic” don’t get hot even after you’ve been frying food for a long time. Alternatively, opt for a skillet with wooden handles, which stays the coolest; however, you can’t put them in the dishwasher or oven. 

If you are preparing something that requires precise timing, you may want to use a copper pan that is lined with stainless steel or tin. Foods that need to be cooked a specific amount of time, such as sea scallops, do well in this type of skillet because copper is the most reactive metal. Copper acquires heat quickly but it also loses its heat fast when the skillet is removed from the burner.

Some cooks swear by cast-iron skillets, especially for frying chicken. The cast-iron skillet does not cool down quickly as does the copper skillet, which makes it ideal for cooking grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon or for browning potatoes. The cast-iron skillet produces steady heat. 

Cast-iron skillets used to be a real pain to clean up, but now they are made with non-stick surfaces just as are their stainless steel and copper counterparts. If you like using cast iron skillets there are some factors that you must pay attention to. A traditional cast iron skillet doesn’t come with a non-stick surface but you can create a non-stick surface by coating the skillet with cooking oil. Put the skillet in the oven and baked for an hour at 350 degrees. After 60 minutes, remove the skillet, carefully, always use potholders, and wipe it with a paper towel. Every time you use your traditional cast-iron skillet it buttress the non-stick coating that “seasoning,” which is what you did when you baked the skillet for an hour, created. If you want to hurry up the non-stick process, you can bake the skillet in the oven once again. Some companies offer cast-iron cookware that comes pre-seasoned.

When shopping for a skillet, consider what you are going to use it for and how often and how difficult or easy it is to clean. Of course, the better it looks the better you’re probably going to like it.

Yes, skillets can be good-looking.

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