Being a child of the 70’s, I was brought up to believe that the only worthwhile way to fry things was in a non-stick or cast iron pan. I have been harboring the belief that everything sticks hopelessly to anything else!
LIES! ALL LIES!!!
I lucked out and stumbled upon a high-quality, heavy-bottom stainless steel skillet at a thrift shop a few months ago, and decided to give it a try for all of $3.
FINALLY a pan that not only puts a nice brown crust on a piece of meat (which cast iron will also do) but ALSO allows me to see what I’m doing when I make the sauce afterwards, AND… (Damn all you liars! is remarkably easy to clean! Yes, the sides tend to require a big more elbow grease, but here’s the thing: I LOVE the knowledge that I can actually apply said elbow grease without fear of shredding the delicate surface! This ain’t no candy-ass pan that needs to be babied or it becomes landfill, no sir! THIS is a proper pan that can be left to burn then scrubbed with the harshest materials you can throw at it… and all you get is a nice, shiny, ready-to-go pan that will give you a delicious meal the next time you use it.
And for the record: I have fried eggs in it, fried potatoes, and a variety of other foods I was sure would be hopelessly stuck. Nope. Especially when you let the food alone to cook long enough to release on its own.
I can’t believe I had to live for half a century, being a very good cook, by the way, and be so incredibly misinformed about the reality of a stainless steel pan. I feel duped.
(Of course, high-quality, heavy-bottom stainless steel skillets ain’t cheap, and cheap, thin, badly made skillets are crap, and that’s what I’ve previously experienced… so I didn’t just imagine things…)
So let me share with you young 'uns out there that may suffer from the same misconception: as soon as you are able, get yourself a good quality stainless steel skillet! I don’t know that it makes much difference when it comes to other kinds of pots, but if you cook animal protein in any kind of serious way, this is the ticket!