Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My New Favorite Pan

This is yet another chapter in the saga I call, “What was I waiting for????” Other entries have been written along similar lines: the Microplane grater, for example. Tongs. (How on God’s green earth did I ever live without tongs?) A small strainer to strain the seeds out of lemon juice. A citrus reamer. Silpat. (Thanks Allison!)

None of these things cost more than $15, most much less. Yesterday, I upped the ante a bit and spent $40 on something that I can’t believe I haven’t bought before now: a grill pan.

On sale for $39.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond my new, square, nonstick Calphalon grill pan is, in a word, awesome. It requires virtually no oil, heats to sizzling hot very quickly, and makes absolutely beautiful grill marks. Yesterday I grilled chicken paillards, a thick tuna steak, and turkey burgers (which I detest by the way). It was easy to cook each protein to its proper level of doneness, and they all tasted light and healthy. The pan is super-easy to clean, and unlike cast iron it doesn’t require me to use two hands to lift it. The grill pan is a star!

I am far from done with the grill pan. Next I may try Asian shrimp on skewers, courtesy of a recipe I saw Corinne Trang make once. And of course, salmon, hamburgers, pork chops, vegetables….

By the way, here’s the trick to making lovely crosshatch grill marks. When you put your piece of chicken, say, on the hot pan make a mental note which end is facing “up” (12 o’clock), towards the back of the stove. After a few minutes turn the chicken 90 degrees, making the end that was once facing the top now face 9 o’clock or 3 o’clock. It’s easy, but easy to mess up, too, as I do sometimes when I forget to notice which end is at 12 o’clock. Just make that mental note and you’ll be fine.

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