I’m guilty. I use nonstick for pretty much anything that calls for a skillet, always a bit irritated at the giantness of my regular stainless steel wok-inspired skillets. Bending down and genuinely fighting with the piles of pots and pans sparks in me an anger that makes, well, no sense. So I tend to avoid it.
On top of that, I simply had no idea that whether or not you used nonstick made a difference, until I was reading French chef Robert Arbor’s book, Joie de Vivre, over breakfast this morning.
I rely on fond, those little caramelized bits of veggie and meat left over from a sear, to flavor all of my pan sauces.. and there’s really nothing more in this world I love than a rich pan sauce of shallots, wine, and butter. Simple, satisfying, and completely delicious.
But did you know you can’t get near the fond from a nonstick pan? When you think about it, it makes sense. The whole idea is that thing won’t stick to your nonstick pan, including caramelized bits of delicious drippings.. the real meat for your pan sauce. The flavor is concentrated in these little bits and impart immense flavor to whatever you might be making.
So next time you sear a piece of meat, whip out a non-nonstick pan, stainless or copper (aluminum can react with the acid of your pan sauce), and heat that baby up. Your meat will stick at first, but then it will develop a sort of crust, and you’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be better than fine.. you’ll be swimming in a whole new world of fond, adding an effortless depth and richness to your food.