Cookware 18

How does hard anodized aluminum cookware fit into the equation?

jedovaty | Jun 18, 201204:06 PM

Hi there:

Main question:
Where/how does hard anodized aluminum cookware fit in terms of uses in the home kitchen? I'm specifically interested in the stuff *without* non-stick coatings. In other words, what's it best for?

What's been done:
I've spent days reading and learning about various types of cookware on this and other forums over the past several months, have read the egullet Q&A resource on choosing pots and pans. It does not seem this hard anodized aluminum stuff gets much love.

It appears that CI and carbon steel gets the ubiquitous good luvin' as a non-stick alternative, and both stainless and copper taking up the rest; SS mostly for all round stuff, and copper for more delicate temp control. Upon reading, it's my impression that many people here purchased anodized hard aluminum as a "first step", deal with some of its idiosyncrasies, and then move on to the other offerings after reading the internet. A number of home cooks seem to like the non-stick hard anodized aluminum offerings, though for as many as like it, seems the as many are abandoning it. Again, I'm not interested in the ones with non-stick coatings.

Follow up musing:
Would it be right to place it as a less expensive alternative to copper cookware, though it is somewhat pricey? It can brown, the anodized part gives it an ability to deglaze, and I think it can go in the oven. So what's wrong with it?

Premise and ramblings (you can stop reading at this point):
The above is the result of me looking to replace and change my pans for a number of reasons (mostly because I like nice things); currently I've got a couple cheapo non-sticks, a carbon steel japanese wok, a SS saute pan and stock pot, and a small SS stock pot with copper bottom. The le-crueset dutch oven cracked. Not sold on the wok yet, probably because my gas stove doesn't have the BTUs and the hood vent at my place is really bad so the smoke set off all my fire alarms at once. Last weekend I brought home a vollrath carbon steel frying pan, spent the day seasoning it, and see what all the hype is about (mmmm duck fat fried eggs..!).

My cooking mostly revolves around searing and sauteing fish, veggies, chicken, turkey, pork. I don't do many deglazing suaces, usually a little flavor with citrus fruits, a little wine, or stock (often times in the form of a crushed ice cube). On limited occasion I will finish in the oven. Red meat goes on the BBQ.

The carbon steel vollrath will replace the non-stick pan for sure, and I'm wondering whether I'd find use for hard anodized aluminum. I would go with plain aluminum, however, because I use a lot of citrus juices, that doesn't seem like a good idea; likely better off with a ss lined copper (yes!... ?).

Thank you for reading!

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