The executive chef of dine by Peter Gordon at SkyCity answers your cuisine questions.
I am curious to learn what your recommendations are for the care of non-stick frying pans. Do you use them in your commercial kitchens and at home? Over the years we have had a number of non-stick pots and pans, some of them supposedly top brands but inevitably they lose their non-stick abilities. What am I doing wrong?
I am a huge fan of non-stick pots and pans. I own many from France's Le Creuset through to a great German brand SSK. I love making risotto in them, frying eggs and bacon, slow cooking porridge, making winter warming hot chocolate drinks and sauteeing fish and scallops. I only buy ones that can go into the oven (for the fish and even to finish a potato tortilla) and that are fairly heavy to the hand. However, the Teflon coating of the pans will always last a lesser time than the pan itself and so it's this that you need to keep an eye on. Never use a metal spoon or spatula when cooking, never wash with a metal or even hard nylon scouring pad no matter how badly burnt-on the food is. Never wash them in a dishwasher (dishwasher chemicals can be quite corrosive) and never place over too high a heat.
Cooking on too high a heat will cause your pots and pans life to be shortened by quite a few years as the coating and the metal of the pan are not at all alike and constant high heat just serves to "separate" them. You can fry eggs and saute fish till golden, but if you're browning meat and veges for a stew, or caramelising sugar for a toffee, then keep the heat down and cook for longer.
To wash them, you need only soak the pan in warm soapy water and scrub with a plastic or bristle brush - anything harder will slowly scratch the surface and cause it to lose its wondrous character. I tend to wipe mine as soon as I'm done with kitchen paper.
I'm also a huge fan of non-stick tart tins and cake tins and I even have a really heavy non-stick roasting dish that I use to bake chunks of hake or monkfish steaks layered over thinly shaved fennel and onions. What's great with this is that you can start sauteeing the garlic and onions on the stove top, layer with sliced potatoes and rosemary leaves then place the fish on top and drizzle with a little dry white wine (that you've infused saffron into) and when it comes to the boil, place it immediately in the oven.
Many restaurants use non-stick pans and as you might imagine they have a short life in that environment, but look after them well, buy the most expensive you can afford (I hate to say but cheaper ones tend to last for only 20 meals or so), and when you put them away in your cupboard, make sure you don't stack other heavier metal pots inside which will also scratch them.
* To ask Peter a question, click on the Email Peter link below.