Are you the fry cook in your family? Have you had a thoroughly miserable Chanukah this year? With your frying pan, that is! If you have put your fry pan to the test this Chanukah and found it wanting you are not alone. Before, during and after Chanukah, dozens of cooks come in search of a cure for the dreaded “sticky-pan syndrome.”
Before you jump into your next fry pan purchase here are some things you might want to know. All non-stick pans are not created equal. The words “Teflon” and non-stick have become synonymous over the last 50 years but in actuality non stick surfaces have come a long way from the original coating manufactured by the Tefal Corporation in 1956 in France. In 1960 Tefal, known as T-fal in the US, began selling its pans in the United States. Other manufacturers soon joined the market, improving the quality of the non-stick materials.
To keep prices down, some manufacturers will simply coat the lightweight aluminum pans with enamel to protect the exterior and bond the interior with a non-stick coating. Because the goal here is to keep the price low, both the enamel exterior and the non-stick interior is usually the most basic available. While it may seem like a good buy at the time, be aware that it will not last very long. Both the enamel and non-stick may scratch and peel off after just a short time.
To strengthen aluminum, manufacturers came up with a process of extreme heating to create anodized aluminum. Aside from making the aluminum stronger, this process also changes the aluminum so it will no longer react to any food. In time, non-stick coating like DuPont Silverstone or Excalibur have evolved and these tend to last longer. While it is still necessary to use nylon or wood utensils to prevent scratching on these surfaces, they will be more forgiving and provide years of service without peeling and pitting.
While much fuss has been made in recent years regarding the use of non-stick cookware, if you read the research carefully, as we have, you will note that any leaching or odors that may occur with non-stick finishes has occurred at extreme temperatures in pans that have been left empty. First, at home, we never cook at such high heat and second, who heats up an empty pan? So while the evidence may show chemical changes to PTFE or the plastic material used to make non-stick finishes, these conditions are exceedingly unlikely to take place at home.
To combat the idea of non-stick equals “bad” other non-stick materials have been developed such as ceramic titanium. This space age material is thought to be more durable than any non-stick made of PTFE. It is likely to stand up to metal utensils and will last longer than its predecessors.
The current environmental concerns have also led to manufacturing processes that do not produce harmful emissions. In light of that the cookware brands that feature ceramic non stick finishes are often marketed as “green pans.” So they offer more benefit to the environmental and health-conscious consumer—being both good for you and the planet.
To see if these new pans have practical applications to the busy balabustas who cook dinner for a large crowd ever night we have brought in these frying pans. The reviews have been mostly positive—ceramic non-stick is good! Using little or no oil and achieving a golden crust without replacing your pans ever year is a great reason to invest in a new ceramic-coated non stick frying pan. We like the new line from Cuisinart called GreenGourmet. Their ceramic coating is known as Ceramica. It is moderately priced, weighs enough to feel substantial without being overly heavy and will forgive an occasional fork use.
So if you are looking to replace your frying pans after a tough workout this frying season you will definitely have to treat yourself to a post-Chanukah gift—a new ceramic-coated frying pan. Then you can try our perfect omelet recipe one of the many tasty fried recipes you will find on our website.
2 large or extra large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
Paper towel dampened with a bit of canola oil
Crack and check the eggs and pour into a mixing bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color.
Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat. Wipe the pan with the oil-dampened paper towel.
Add the milk to the eggs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Then, grab your whisk and whisk like crazy. Try to beat as much air as possible into the eggs.
When the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water hiss, pour in the eggs. Don't stir! Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.
With a heat-resistant silicone spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there's no liquid left.
Your eggs should now resemble a bright yellow pancake, which should easily slide around on the nonstick surface. If it sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.
Now gently flip the egg pancake over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left.
If you're adding any other ingredients, now's the time to do it. You can add shredded cheese, diced vegetables or chopped herbs. Spoon your filling across the center of the egg in straight line.
With your spatula, lift one edge of the egg and fold it across and over, so that the edges line up. Cook for another minute or so, but don't overcook or allow the egg to turn brown. If necessary, you can flip the entire omelet over to cook the top for 30 seconds or so. Just don't let it get brown.
Gently transfer the finished omelet to a plate. Serve immediately.