June 21, 2010
I sometimes weep to think of the perfectly acceptable, and frequently expensive, cook pots and pans that have been thrown in the bin simply because the very fragile non-stick surface has broken down or worn out. So last week I decided to have a go at salvaging one of them, and would you believe, the process worked like a dream.
I’ve frequently seen professional cooks on TV working in their sweaty kitchens with blackened heavy aluminium pans that they have prepared themselves through a process known as ‘sealing’. This is achieved by spreading a thin layer of cooking oil over the surface of the pan and to place on a medium to high heat until the oil blackens and becomes baked on. Now you have a perfectly good and shiny non-stick pan.
So there’s no reason at all that the same cannot be done to a battered, but well loved old non-stick pan. they are usually made from an aluminium base, so the first job is to remove the surface. OK, a little muscle is required here but its not too much. With some dry course wire wool or scouring pad scrub the pan until the battered old non-stick surface is gone and replaced by a shiny metallic base. You might want to finish off with a finer wire wool to produce a perfectly smooth surface.
Next pour in a spoonful of cooking oil and smear around the whole of the pan with some paper kitchen towel, and place pan on a hot flame until it smokes. (An open window or smoke extractor fan would be useful here if you don’t want your smoke alarm driving you nuts). As the oil burns off and begins to brown add another layer, and repeat until you have a shiny black, good-as-new cook pan.
It is recommended, by people who know better than I about these things, that you only wipe the pan clean (as opposed to a full dish-wash) to maintain the surface, but you can always renew it with a quick repeat of the above technique. This should only be necessary every three to four months depending on your use of the pan, but I’m sure that you will very soon grow to love it and use it all the time.