The Only Two Pans You Need
Great pans are devoid of bells, whistles or really anything new-fangled. They’re basic or borderline primitive tools, and even fancy space age coatings aren’t usually to be trusted (see Teflon). The greatest pans are defined by their choice of materials, their near indestructibility, and their versatility. Really, you only need two pans, a non-stick pan (for eggs and vegetables) and a skillet for the heavy lifting (steaks, french fries).
Woll Diamond Lite 12.5-inch Frypan
Most non-stick pans either demand or politely request that you avoid using metal utensils with them. Woll flat out recommends metal for its aluminum Diamond Lite pans, which incorporate diamonds — honest-to-God diamonds — into their 5-layer non-stick surface. They work with every type of range (including induction), their handles are oven-compatible (rated to 480 F) and they’re dishwasher safe. The series includes smaller pans, but this is the size you’ll use most often, and the relatively lightweight cast-aluminum construction makes it easy enough to maneuver around the kitchen. $135, williams-sonoma.com
Le Creuset Signature Skillet
With your non-stick needs taken care of, it’s time to invest in the real workhorse of any kitchen. Le Creuset makes some of the most iconic cast iron skillets in the world, with an array of color choices for their exterior enamel (we’re partial to Marine, shown above), and black interior enamel that’s ready to go (no seasoning nececessary) and that minimizes sticking without going full non-stick. The Signature line has dual pour spouts and a helper handle for carrying heavy dishes, but really it’s just the latest iteration of the company’s proven cast iron quality. $200 (for 11.75-inch skillet), lecreuset.com