Cookware 11

Seasoning Aluminum and SS?

kaleokahu | Mar 8, 2012 09:29 AM

Following up on an intriguing off-topic idea in an earlier thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/830763 (thanks Sanity Removed), I wanted to address this head-on.

We perhaps have *hundreds* of threads and *thousands* of posts about seasoning cast iron and carbon steel pans, but next to nothing on seasoning aluminum and SS. Yet bare unseasoned aluminum and SS are porous like unseasoned CI and can be just as "sticky" (aluminum) if not more so (SS). We see videos of chefs turning out omlettes from aluminum pans with ease, yet home cooks' results can be frustratingly sticky, even with preheating and/or lots of fat in the pan.

According to Vollrath, a major manufacturer and longtime power in commercial cookware, you *do* need to season aluminum and SS pans. Under the heading "Seasoning Non-Coated Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cookware", they advise:

"Season cookware before its first use. Clean and dry cookware. Spray the inside of the pan lightly with vegetable oil or use a small amount of shortening. Place cookware on a burner at medium for 5-10 minutes, until a light smoke or heat waves appear. When the oil/shortening turns a deep amber color, turn the burner off and allow to cool. Pour out liquid oil/shortening and wipe down pan with paper towels until all oil/shortening is removed. Cleaning with a mild soapy solution after each use will not affect the "seasoning" of the pan. OK to repeat this procedure as often as needed without doing damage to the cookware."

So, remembering the oft-repeated opinion expressed here that you *can't* season these two materials, what is the truth? Is the take-home that we should perhaps be more "Magic Kitchen" and treat all our pans to no scouring, non-metallic utensils and the DW, and treat them more like barenaked CI and carbon steel woks?

Interestingly, I tried this method with my only silver-lined copper frypan, and it worked a huge improvement.


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