Dear truffler: Frying pan in the oven, heat diffuser

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I've seen recipes that require a frying pan that can go in the oven. Are there any you'd recommend?

I've seen recipes that require a frying pan that can go in the oven. Are there any you'd recommend? Jayne Watts, Letchworth

Just because a frying pan has a metal handle doesn't mean it can stand a hot oven. Divertimenti (020-7935 0689, www.divertimenti.co.uk) stocks Bourgeat pans. They're heavy stainless steel, but the handles stay cool; the 24cm frying pan is £41, 28cm is £53. John Lewis has its own 28cm version for £43 (branches 020-7629 7711). Selfridges (020-7629 1234) has chasseur pans from £16.

I'm not the cracked pot problem solver I thought I was. Thanks to those who've pointed out that Andy Kool needs to do more than buy a heat diffuser to prevent his Spanish earthenware dishes from cracking on the hob. Over to Fr Bruce Bridgewood: "The cassola needs to be 'cured' before use. Soak it overnight, dry thoroughly, rub the unglazed portion of the outside with a peeled clove of raw garlic. Fill the vessel with water (include half a cup of vinegar) and bring slowly to the boil over a gas flame. (Don't use a cassola on electric stoves.) Cook until liquid is almost gone, pour out what remains and dry vessel, which is now ready for use. Never put hot liquids into a cold cassola (or vice versa) and turn the flame up gradually when used on the hob. See Coleman Andrews' Catalan Cuisine (published by Grub Street).

Correction: The Countryside Agency, not the Countryside Alliance, has organised today's East Midlands Food Festival at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire.

E-mail your queries to truffler@independent.co.uk or write to Dear Truffler, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS.

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