Like the perfect brush for every painting, you need the right pan for the perfect dish. You obviously cannot make a bulls eye in a pot and boil your peas in a pan.The right pan is what qualifies a dish from perfect to ordinary. It can deliver the culinary results you aspire for. All experienced chefs will agree that the pan does play a special role in this once act play.
First timers, who follow the recipe precisely, are sometimes disappointed by the final outcome. They just don’t realize that they are using the wrong pan. The easy method to decide on the pan is by focusing on the main cooking method being employed in the recipe.
I know if it would be that simple, we probably wouldn’t be writing about it today. When you actually go out in the market, the choice in pans and their different names can bewilder you. They might be called shallow, wide, frying pans or skillets.
But to make things simple, lets classify them into two broad categories. Pans with straight sides and pans with sloped sides. You actually need a few good pans rather than pots, to be a good chef. Investing in pans of good quality material is always a sound design, rather than buying a handful of bad quality ones.
As a golden rule every aspiring cooks needs to start with a good knife, a sound cutting board and a top quality pan in the kitchen. So without getting really technical and confusing with scientific jargon, we are now going to list a few pans and their ideal food partners.
1) Use the slope sided skillet for flipping food, like pancakes, crepes, eggs and vegetables.
2) Use the straight sided skillet for shallow frying chicken and other meats. The oil wont slosh out and the food wont burn on the sides.
3) Use a stockpot for boiling things in loads of water, like pasta, soups, gnocchi. The food wont jump out and the two big handles will save your hands form burning.
4) For slow pot roasts us the casserole dishes with tight lids. They are oven safe and stove safe. The sauce worn disappear and meat will be a beauty.
5) The humble heavy bottomed saucepan, should be used to make custards, puddings, pasta sauces. It helps in easy maneuvering and great texture.
6) When you go out shopping for post and pans, keep a few basics in mind. Always look for ovenproof utensils. You can choose between pans made out of aluminium or anodized aluminum. But remember they both are light weight and might react with the food sometimes. The cast irons pans are sturdy and heavy, but leave a metallic taste on the food. Or choose between a stainless steel or enamelware pan or pot. They both are non reactive but need care while cleaning.
Selecting the pan might seem like the most boring and assumed task in the world. But ask a seasoned cook and he will vouch for the utility of the right pan for the perfect dish.