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What do you cook in your Carbon-Steel Skillet?

I'd like to add a Carbon-Steel skillet to my collection of cast iron and All-Clad pots and pans. I have no experience with this material however, and I was hoping the Food52 community might offer some advice on how you use your pan.

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asked over 2 years ago

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7 answers 4068 views
Smaug
added over 2 years ago

Paella pans are traditionally carbon steel; apart from that, it's limited in my kitchen to knives.

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cv
cv
added over 2 years ago

Woks are also traditionally carbon steel.

Smaug
added over 2 years ago

CV- c'est vrai- haven't used my traditional wok or kadhai in some time, but I think my Joyce Chen is carbon steel under the non stick.

cv
cv
added over 2 years ago

Eggs, for one. Also potatoes.

Carbon steel is also the traditional pan material for crepe pans, if you're into that sort of thing.

In a traditional French restaurant kitchen, a carbon steel pan is the standard fry pan. Want to sear a duck breast? Carbon steel skillet. Want to reheat a duck confit thigh? Carbon steel skillet. Want to cook bacon? Carbon steel skillet.

I have a set of de Buyer carbon steel skillets. One thing I find is that their sloped sides and longer handles are far better for flipping things than a standard cast iron skillet. American-style cast iron skillets have short handles and steep sides which don't help perform this action (sauté or literally "jump").

In many ways an American-style cast iron skillet is a pretty close replacement for a carbon steel skillet, but for sure, some of the carbon steel ones are designed for way better handling.

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cv
cv
added over 2 years ago

Of course, there's a detailed feature from Daniel Gritzer at Serious Eats:

http://www.seriouseats...

comparing carbon steel to cast iron. As I noted below, Gritzer also mentions the superiority of the typical carbon steel skillet design for sautéing small items (a photo accompanies the article).

The Serious Eats article links to a Mafter Bourgeat pan at Amazon, very similar to the Mauviels that Food52 sells. Both appear to be comparable to my deBuyer pans.

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pierino
pierino

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added over 2 years ago

I'd add bacon to that combination as well. In any case it's a good way to season a new carbon steel pan. Cut bacon strips into halves or quarters and melt down into fatty goodness.

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Thomas Couts
added over 2 years ago

I also have a set of deBuyer pans and agree that they are very versatile. I mostly sautee and use like a wok since they have a large stove surface contact. Like a seasoned cast iron pan, I don't use them for braising. I imagine that the acid ingredients would strip away the pan's patina and it wouldn't taste as good as one made in a porcelainized cast iron Dutch oven.

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