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So, I'm a hobbyist and like to play with new recipes. Recently I've found a few recipes which want me to fry something, then put the pan directly into the oven and roast for a bit. Then maybe move it back to the cooktop a bit. It seems a bit odd, although deglazing seems a fairly common example.

Well, the problem with this is most pans intended for the stove are very thin and perform poorly on the cooktop. Most pans intended for the cooktop have plastic handles or other bits which seem like a poor idea to put in the oven. I can get along passably with a dutch oven (one without legs) but those tend to be round and often an oval pan is good for roasting things. What I've heard I need is a cassolette pan.

Unfortunately, I'm finding the same problem in the stores. Either pans don't have the weight for cooktop cooking, or they have plastic or rubberized handles. Although I have found a very expensive line of colored dutch ovens in a couple of stores.

Is there some way to determine if the rubberized bits are oven safe? Other than buying one and voiding the warranty? Any advice which would help determining whether a pan might survive?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

A few ideas for you:

You can use cast iron. Depending on what you are cooking this works quite well - but beware what you deglaze with, you might take your finish off or impart a taste to your food.

You can read the label on your rubber/plastic handle cookware. Many are oven-safe to 350F or so, the label should tell you.

You can use stainless steel or other all metal cookware. Paderno is my (Canadian!) favourite. Alternately go to your local restaurant supply store - so-called professional gear can actually be quite reasonable, because a kitchen has to buy so much of it.

Good Luck!

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As someone who's discovered what plastic smells like when you get it too hot in the oven (hint: it stinks), I wouldn't suggest testing to see what the limit is on the temperature ... although it did add an interesting texture to the handles.

The stuff I use that goes well from the stove to the oven is annodized aluminum and as sdg mentioned, cast iron.

Enamaled cast iron is nice too (which are likely the colored dutch ovens you saw), as it doesn't have the issues with acidic dishes like pot-roast (at least, it's acidic how I do it), but it can be rather pricy ... it's one of the collect a piece at a time over the course of a few years type investment, but it'll last for years.* I would never buy it from most stores, as the markup's horrible, but you can get Le Creuset from Amazon, and a few years ago I managed to get a rather nice set for a friend at like 60% off. There's also now more competition -- Lodge makes a line of enameled cast iron which is much more reasonably priced, as does Cuisinart which is not quite as inexpensive but still more affordable than Le Creuset, but I've personally used neither one.

(*) That is, unless you go to boil water, forget about it, and find that you've managed to melt the enamel on the pot, and it's now fused to the burner ... sure, my brother was 10 at the time, but I still have to bring up that he managed to fail at boiling water.

(and okay, I admit it ... I have a whole two Le Creuset pieces ... there's a baking dish that I use all the time (enameled earthenware), and but the other one's a bad size for the number of people I cook for these days, so doesn't get used too often)

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I bought one of the Lodge dutch ovens for a friend as a Christmas present, and she's very happy with it. She's got several Le Creuset pieces, and says that the Lodge compares quite well with them. –  Taeraresh Nov 4 '10 at 3:57

Typically the pans or the packing have a marking on them to show if they are oven safe and ot what temperature. Like SDG said, it's a good idea to just go with an all metal pan as you have to watch out for the teflon coating. At higher temperatures the non-stick coatings can melt and give off some very toxic fumes, trust me on this one, talking from experience here.

Kitchen Aid makes a set of pans, with rubberized handles that is oven save, non-stick coating too, but only to 400 degrees. If you need to go higher than that, I would stay with all metal. http://kitchenaidcookware.com/hbn/hbn_feat.shtml

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