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Shiny Sauté Pan

July 1, 2009

I have a lot of cookware.  You already know about my cast iron.  But I have a lot of expensive cookware too.  And I have a lot of expensive cookware that never gets used.

All those Calphalon pots come readily to mind.

But I also have some expensive cookware that I love and use every day alongside the cast iron.  And I want to tell you what it is.

Because I love it, and I think it’s worth every penny.   Coming from a cheap bastard, that is high praise indeed.

It is the All-Clad Stainless Steel line.  Not the brushed aluminum.  Not the nonstick.  Not the copper core.  Just the straight plain-Jane stainless steel.

First, they are beautiful when you get them out of the box.  So shiny.  Inside and out.
Second, they cook very well, with heavy bottoms that are a bit more forgiving.
Third, and perhaps the most important reason these are my go-to pans, can be found on the sidebar of the Care and Use section of the All-Clad website.  The last line of the second paragraph:

“You may wash Stainless in the dishwasher.”

That’s what it says.  Which is a far cry from the Calphalon, and why Young Master Fussy now primarily uses those pots as percussion instruments.

Still, the fussiest of my friends think putting such fine pans in the dishwasher is sacrilege.  They may be right.  It may deteriorate the finish.  It may lessen the stick-resistant properties of the highly polished stainless steel as it comes out of the box.  But in this case, I do not care.

It says I can put it in the dishwasher, so in it goes.

Now they are expensive, to be sure.  So here is what I recommend.  Look for the cookware pieces you need to go on sale.  And buy them one piece at a time.  In time, you will collect them all.

I would argue that the best pieces are the fry pans, the covered sauté pans, and the saucepans.  The sizes and priority of these will depend on what and how much you generally cook.  Although they do make a pretty kick-ass full-stick stainless steel roasting pan that I have had my eyes on for several years.  (I just have no place to put it, nor do I do much roasting.  Drat.)

Most people would not benefit from a high-performance All-Clad stockpot or pasta strainer.  These things are a bit ridiculous.  Although perhaps you are one of those people who wants all of your cookware to match.

In which case, it may be you who is a bit ridiculous.
Seriously, do you buy your clothes all in the same color?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2009 10:13 am

    Recently I have become somewhat of a cookware minimalist. I paired down to a Calphalon saute, Calphalon sauce, Le Creuset casserole, and a big pasta/stock pot. My wife (bless her culinary cluelessness) had been doing horrible things to the saute pan with metal implements so I had to lose it. It got replaced by a good quality stainless pan and I am more than happy with it. You are very right, it is much easier to clean and it can take a beating.

  2. joni permalink
    July 1, 2009 10:38 am

    i’m all clad brushed aluminum or non-stick all the way when i’m not using my enameled cast iron chantal with the glass covers. i desire nothing else.

  3. cheftanner permalink
    July 1, 2009 10:09 pm

    When I started cooking professionally 15 years ago Calphalon was all the rage. I had many pieces from them. Over the years I decided to upgrade to the Master Chef series from All Clad, and Le Creuset, with some Lodge pieces. Over the last couple years I have come to like the simple Lodge pieces over the Le Creuset pieces, the enamal doesn’t allow for proper searing in my opinion and many of my le Creuset pieces I’ve had to send back and have replaced as the enamel has cracked. As for my regular pans, I have been upgrading to Mauviel copper. They are full copper with stainless steel interiors. I also have a few older copper pans which are tin lined. PLEASE anyone don’t bother with the All-Clad copper line. They are actually aluminum pans that are sprayed with coper on the outside and stainless steel on the interior.

    Oh and dishwashers don’t affect pans, pans are also not meant to look good, they are meant to be cooked in. I only shine my copper when I have a public demo to do.

  4. ThinkAndDo permalink
    July 5, 2009 8:00 am

    I’d picked up a LOT of Calphalon’s commercial line prior to its being discontinued and still love the damn things in spite of the hand washing. Although many of the purchases were merely part of an obsessive spree, there are four or five items I use regularly: a very wide eight-quart pot with six inches height, a braising pan, 12 and eight inch saute pans, and a Windsor pot for sauces. All-Clad’s larger saute pans have tempted me, but I’ve yet to make the jump.

  5. November 22, 2010 11:58 am

    Thank you for recommending this post! I just received a nice set of stainless cookware and I want to make sure not to ruin them (as I often ruin my $15 pans from wal-mart/target)

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