When we first “tied the knot” a dozen or so years ago, we purchased an inexpensive set of cookware at Target. Budgets were tight and cooking wasn’t such a passion. All the pieces were coated with teflon for a non-stick finish, even the sauce pans. Overall, the pans worked well and held up to frequent use. Concern over the safety of teflon began to emerge a few years ago. Pans heated to 500º C could emit toxic fumes. According to Cook’s Illustrated, it was fairly easy to get to that temperature quickly when cooking over high heat. We began to consider other alternatives.
As I become enamored of cooking and my husband ran out of gift ideas, finer cookware became a common and welcome present to be gleefully opened. Now, I have a nice set of All Clad stainless steel cookware and an ever growing variety of Le Creuset cast iron.
I still have a few teflon coated fry pans that are needed for crepes (or 49ers). We also cook eggs and egg whites daily, so a non-stick pan is needed for that, but does the non-stick have to be teflon? Some folks have suggested going back to the original non-stick, cast iron. I’ve tried cooking eggs in my Le Creuset skillets with the inner black, matte finish. It works okay, but not as well as teflon.
I was at a Le Creuest outlet in Gilroy, California in January and I believe I saw skillets with the shiny enamel finish on the inside. I didn’t buy one at the time and searched for them when I got home. Either I was mistaken or they don’t normally sell fully enameled skillets. My Le Creuset french oven and deep saucier clean up so well, I wondered if fully enameled skillets would fare as well. Since I could not find new Le Creuset with the shiny enamel interior, I decided to check eBay. I found a vintage Le Creuset pan on eBay that had the shiny enamel finish. I decided to buy it and give it a try.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well it works for eggs. It’s a small pan, about 9″ in diameter, so it’s not too heavy. With a spray of canola oil, I preheat the pan on low. Once it reaches a suitable temperature, I add the eggs. It works well enough for scrambled eggs, perhaps a higher heat might be more suitable. I’ll have to play with that. It does an amazing job on eggs over easy. The eggs do not stick at all. Once I flip the eggs over, I turn the heat off and let the residual heat finish cooking the other side for perfect eggs. Clean up is a breeze, just like teflon.
I’m not sure if other cast iron manufacturers make fully enameled skillets with the shiny interior. It would be a wonderful addition if they did.