I know that using nonstick cookware is considered passe by foodies and home chefs everywhere, but nothing is as easy to use or clean up. I have a set of fully-clad stainless steel cookware that never gets used because it’s such a pain in the ass.
Of course, the number one drawback of using nonstick stuff is that eventually the coating wears off. If you don’t stay on top of it, the coating can flake off into your food.
We recently audited our cookware and tossed a one-quart saucepan and a 10″ frying pan. The Circulon 1-quart saucepan got good reviews, so I thought I would give it a try.
The saucepan has an anodized aluminum finish that won’t flake but will thin over time. This is fine by me, as I’m more worried about a coating coming off into my food than buying an heirloom quality pot. The durability seems to be somewhere in between a stainless steel piece and one with nonstick coating.
At first blush, the pot seems really well built. It’s heavy in the hand (for its size) and the metal feels thick. The sides of the saucepan have notches that aid in pouring. It’s a nice touch, especially compared to competitors in the same price range.
The handle is nice; it feels like the right length and the grip is a rubberized plastic that is slightly squishy. I doubt the material is oven-safe, but that’s okay for our uses.
The saucepan is not dishwasher safe and that is also acceptable. We hand wash all of our kitchen knives and cookware so having a piece that isn’t dishwasher safe doesn’t change our routine at all.
The bottom of the Circulon Contempo pan is plain, except for its identification marks. This seems droll in an era of concentric heat-focusing rings or copper bottoms or whatever. However, the thickness of the saucepan distributes heat pretty evenly and perhaps due to that and its small size it doesn’t need a lot of hocus pocus in its ass.
I paid $17 for the 1-quart saucepan, and I think that’s an exceptional value. As of this writing, the cost of the pan has gone up to $32. Even at that price there aren’t many better options. You could get a saucepan with a lid for about the same price, but the quality of the pan goes down.
Strongly recommended especially if you can wait to see if it goes back on sale.