I promise that this post is not just an excuse to show off the new All-Clad sauté pan my husband bought me for Christmas. It was the big gift, the one wrapped in a really large box. It was also a wisely chosen gift: he bought it through Cookware & More for much less than the usual price, and now that it's here it hasn't been put away in the cupboard once.
See, it's a big, big pan, and I've wanted one of these for a long time.
The largest sauté pan in my cupboard, before Christmas, was a 3-quart version. It is a nice pan, but it's not big enough to brown a batch of beef for a whole pot of beef stew, or to cook a whole bag of kale. It would steam meat instead of browning it, and it was always overflowing greens or rice onto the stove. (Well, cook's error, I do admit; I would get impatient!)
A 6-quart sauté pan, on the other hand, is big enough for any number of jobs. I braised two whole heads of fennel the other evening, and had room to spare. I browned pounds of beef for a spicy curry, and didn't have to break it into batches. I've cooked a lot of things in this pan already, and it's barely January!
When Elizabeth argued that bigger is better when it comes to frying pans, it made sense. It's easier to brown meat and vegetables with more surface area, and sauces reduce faster in a giant pan.
So, while most of the time we look for small appliances and minimalist gadgets for our little kitchen, I am also coming out in favor of the big pan. The bigger the better. I haven't reached for my 3-quart pan once in the last two weeks; it's the big one all the way.
And here is our post on Cookware & More, a great outlet for All-Clad seconds.