Sauteing is an excellent method for adding flavor to food without using a lot of butter or oil. It’s a faster method than frying food and because of the lower content of oils used, the finished recipe is healthier. If you want to sauté food and get the best results, it’s important to select the right pan. You’ll want a heavy bottomed pan that’s large enough not to crowd the food. When food is crowded too close together in a saute pan, it tends to steam the food as opposed to sautéing it. Since saute pans tend to be expensive, it’s important to choose your cookware wisely. Here are the options available for saute cooking:
Pan for saute cooking: A stainless steel pan
These pans will work for most forms of sautéing with the exception of blackening. They tend to be quite durable although a bit expensive compared to other forms of cookware. Non-stick versions of stainless steel pans may allow food to stick to the pan, but it won’t react with acidic foods as will cast iron pans. Expect to pay a rather heft price for a high quality stainless steel pan, somewhere in the range of $40.00 to $90.00.
Pan for saute cooking: Cast iron
Cast iron pans work well for cooking techniques requiring high heat such as blackening and pan-roasting. They heat quite evenly and allow precise temperature control, but will react with foods that are acidic. For this reason, you should avoid cooking acidic vegetables such as tomatoes in a cast iron skillet where the vegetables can take on a metallic taste due to iron leaching out of the pan. One of the most durable to all pans, a cast iron pan can potentially last a life time. If seasoned correctly, it tends to be non-stick. The cast iron pan is a real bargain compared to other alternatives. You can usually find a new one for around $20.00 and may be able to find one for a few dollars at a yard sale.
Pan for saute cooking: Copper saute pan lined with stainless steel
This type of pan works quite well for sautéing with its ability to heat foods quickly, evenly, and consistently due to its high conductivity. Although you can buy a nonstick version, certain foods such as eggs may still stick to the pan. These pans are not appropriate for blackening. Another drawback is their expense. Expect to pay anywhere from $75.00 to $150.00 for a good quality sauté pan.
Pan for sauté cooking: Generic nonstick pan
An inexpensive, nonstick pan from the grocery store can be an inexpensive way to sauté your recipes. Unfortunately, these pans don’t always heat uniformly, giving rise to hotspots which can alter the final results. The advantage is they have a nonstick coating which prevents even tough foods like eggs from sticking to the pan. Plus, they’re usually quite inexpensive. Expect to pay under $20.00 for this type of sauté pan.
As you can see, you have a variety of options for cookware for sauté cooking ranging from cheap to expensive. Depending upon your budget, you can find an alternative that will work for you and help you create delicious, health, sautéed recipes.
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