Carbon steel cookware

So, frustrated with the stickiness of my anodized aluminum omelet pan, and always liking to try new things, I bought a small carbon steel omelet pan. It arrived today, and I just gave it a first pass through the oven to start seasoning it.

I bought this.

Why that, instead of one of the many other options? I dunno, it got good reviews, it can be put in a very hot oven, and it looked pretty, I guess.

My first impression is that it’s frigging heavy. It weighs a ton more than the aluminum one it’s replacing. It weighs nearly as much as I’d expect a cast iron pan that size to weigh. So maybe I won’t buy a large one, even if I like this one.

Anyway, looking forward to giving it a spin. I’ll probably give it a couple more rounds of seasoning, first, though.

What are you going to cook first? Going to give it the “fried egg test”?

probably a fried egg, or an omelet. Although I wonder if I ought to start with the kinds of cooking that improve the surface. (although it’s a bit small to make popcorn in it.)

How’d it go?

Fried a couple of eggs. The seasoning still needs work, but it did a good job. I don’t like the weight, but otherwise it’s very nice.

I have a Mafter “black steel” 12-5/8" pan that I use for just about anything that’s not acidic (so as to not strip the seasoning off). It is heavy, so I end up “choking up” on the handle to compensate. For the 12-5/8" size though it really should have a small handle on the opposite side.

If I do get something to stick to the pan, I scrub it lightly with a stainless steel pad, water but no soap, and then put it on the stovetop to dry it out. Once it’s warm and dry I apply a little olive oil to help reseason it. Ideally I’d be able to keep it at that nice, shiny black level of seasoning, but it gets used a little too hard for that (though the sides and underside do keep that surface nicely).

We had a very old carbon steel wok that performed beautifully. It had years of seasoning on it, of course.

Yeah, this one is 8", and it certainly doesn’t need a second handle. I was just expecting it to be lighter. (and would have preferred that.) But I have moved the anodized aluminum pan to the basement, and am using this one now.

Until you’re sure you have the seasoning down, use extra butter when you do eggs. I’m talking about what looks like a ridiculous amount of butter. You want to see that fried egg or omelet sliding freely around the pan.

With minimal regular maintenance you have pan that will outlive you. If you get lazy and it rusts, you can strip it down to the metal pretty easily with vinegar and then a good soap washing. Then you just re-season it again.

Some people don’t want to buy cookware that they have to maintain. I don’t like to buy cookware that I know will be garbage in 3 years because the teflon starts to flake.

In a lot of ways it cooks just like cast-iron, but slightly less heavy and with a much more comfortable handle.

I think I’ll cook a duck breast tonight.

The breast was too large for my new pan, so i used the old cast iron pan. Duck breast is easy and delicious, but it seems extravagant. I paid 2/3 as much for the breast as i would have for a whole duck. Still, it was easy and delicious.

(I scored the skin, salted it, put it in the frying pan skin down, and cooked on medium until most of the fat was rendered. Then i flipped it and cooked the other side a bit. And because it was a huge mulard duck breast, and the interior was still raw, i then put the pan in the oven until it was done. I think i pulled it at about 130F and let it rest another ten minutes on a plate. Served three, with no leftovers.)