I’m often asked about my favorite type of cookware. The honest answer is simply: a wide range. My kitchen is filled with a variety of cookware, from stainless steel to cast iron enamel, non-stick aluminum to antique copper. As someone who loves to cook all kinds of foods, the diversity in my cookware certainly reflects that!
When asked which type of cookware I use the most, the answer is stainless steel. Stainless steel pots and pans are the workhorse of the kitchen. They can be used to make any dish, ranging from everyday quick meals to slow cooked dinners. Restaurants and professional kitchens are stocked to the brim with stainless steel cookware as it’s affordable, durable and most of all, easy to clean and care for. In a home kitchen, they are light-weight, easy to use, and in most cases, dishwasher safe.
What really defines excellent stainless steel cookware from the ordinary are three distinct features: the make-up or composition of the steel, the base of the cookware and the design of each pot and pan.
Composition is important because steel is an alloy and will need metals such as aluminum and copper to conduct heat properly. In addition, to make the steel “stainless” the metals chromium and nickel are added, which ensure the cookware will not scratch or rust easily. If you hear the term “18/10” used in stainless steel cookware, this is the percentage of chromium and nickel found. 18/10 is the highest quality.
I always inspect the base of any piece of cookware. What I look for is an encapsulated base, a thick core of metal that tells me heat will be distributed properly. If this type of base is missing, put down the pan and walk away. You might as well cook on a plate.
Finally, design is important because stainless steel cookware are my “go to” pans. Since I like making sauces, I prefer cookware that has a contoured design, which allows whisks, spatulas and wooden spoons to glide around easily. In professional kitchens, a contoured pan is commonly referred to as a “saucier” and is used repetitively for roux, gravy, and any mother sauce. How nice that in home kitchens, we can grab sets of cookware modeled after this one amazing pan!
As mentioned, I love making pan sauces, gravy and quick dressings, all of which are easy to do in a stainless steel pan. The art of deglazing, that is, to take the drippings or leftover caramelized remains of a protein then turn it into sauce is absolutely brilliant. Pan sauces give dishes such body, enticing flavors to dance on your tastebuds and linger on the palate.
The cookware segment has been labeled as a “showstopper” because there’s no other configuration like it and the price point is unbeatable. Not to mention, the brand Cuisinart has been trusted and loved by people (including Julia Child and James Beard) for decades. Oh! I’m so excited to go on-air with this cookware!
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at one of my favorite lamb chop recipes. This comes together so quickly, it’s one of my favorite weekday dinners. I often pair it with sides like mashed potatoes and peas. Enjoy!
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Season the lamb with salt and pepper on both sides. Over medium high heat, heat oil in a skillet.
Add the chops. Allow to cook on each side, flipping only once. 2-3 minutes for medium rare, 3-4 minutes for medium. Remove chops from skillet.
Deglaze the pan by adding the champagne vinegar, sugar and mint, picking up any brown bits left from the chops. Let the sauce simmer for one minute, then pour over chops. Serve immediately.