Tuesday, January 23, 2018


On the spur of a moment, I picked up a new cooking pot from a specialist at the Market. Frankly, I bought it for its looks. The thing is a wide, shallow saute pan marketed for braising. The sides are coved just right for stirring, and the massive lid weighs more than the pan itself. I thought it would make as good a serving dish as piece of cookware.

I don't braise, me, not as the clerk suggested, but the sheer size of the frying surface on this pot is a miniature version of the cast-iron grill beloved of cafes. The weight of the lid makes it a low-tech pressure cooker.

The new pot is excellent for frying onions, because the acreage allows quick evaporation. It's a good vessel for quickly reducing a sauce. I can fry many a chop or chicken thigh without worrying about crowding the pan. I use it to produce complex one-pot dishes from a sequence that starts with boiling vegetables, then pasta, then sauteing a series of ingredients in a minor excess of olive oil, ending with the meat and/or a sauce that scavenges the last bit of flavor from the pan.

I've been cooking oregano with the onions and black pepper with the meat to good effect. Cooking the spices as well as the main ingredients adds powerful fragrance to the finished dish.

The pot is so massive that it takes a good few minutes to pre-heat. I set it on low over an induction burner before I start chopping vegetables, putting the lid in place to hold in the heat -30-

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