It’s a turmoil…Should I get a regular pan or non-stick pan? The answer depends on the type of cooking you plan to do. The thing to remember is that any non-stick finish pan is maeant to be used on MEDIUM HEAT OR LOWER and not high heat. Using non-stick pans on high heat will ruin the non-stick finish. Also, with nonstick pans you won’t get the good brown goodies to use in your sauces and gravies.
Here’s what I recommend. Get a good quality stainless steel pan with an aluminum or copper core. These pans are practically indestructible and will last a lifetime. Top brands offer to replace any pan free of charge. It is well worth spending the money for a “top of the line” pan with that kind of guarantee.
To keep my pans from sticking, especially frying and saute pans I use two “tricks.” First, if I’m doing something where I’m really concerned with it sticking, I give the pan a light spray of oil prior to heating. While things look like they are burned onto the pan, they clean off quite easily. This is especially helpful if you are searing meat on top of the stove then putting the whole pan into the oven for longer cooking.
Second, and I believe most important, is to deglaze your pan immediately after cooking. Do not wait until you eat. While the meat is resting, why not make a sauce with wine or broth. Even if you aren’t making a sauce, at least put water in the pan and then scrape all those brown bits off the pan. I use a wooden spatula to do this. You will be simply amazed if you do this regularly how nicely your pans come clean and you get the added gift of some creative sauces to go with your meals. To work the pan must be hot from cooking and you not only need to put liquid in to deglaze you MUST scrape it down as well. Using this I have pan fried steaks followed by making omlettes and not having them stick.
Cast Iron pans are great for this as well. The one thing you must remember with a cast iron pan is NEVER, NEVER, EVER clean it with soap. Soap ruins the seasoning and cast iron pans start sticking and rusting.
Take it off the stove still hot, run it under hot water and scrub it with a non-metalic brush or scrubber to get it clean. Pat dry with a towel and return it to the stove and heat it thoroughly to make ceretain it is really dry. Do this and you will keep your seasoning and also prevent it from rusting.
Every two or three uses you can also sprinkle kosher salt into the pan and scrub it. This will help to keep the baked on oil buildup to a minimum.