Friday, July 22, 2016

Stargazer Cast Iron

Have you noticed my growing interest in cast iron pans? Used to be, I'd only recommend clad cookware to my readers and students because it is possible to deglaze with acidic ingredients, because of ease of care and cleaning, and because mass-marketed cast iron is so heavy and hard on the wrists. But a whole new crop of makers, including Borough Furnace, Field, Finex (remember the factory tour?), Lucky Decade, Smithey, Solidteknics, and Stargazer, is convincing me to embrace their modern versions of the traditional cookware.

Lately I’ve been trying out the Stargazer skillet.

This is what it looks like after a number of uses.

My Stargazer arrived earlier than expected. I didn’t have anything special in the house to cook, but it is one sexy skillet and I couldn’t wait to use it. Just frying up this humble meal in it was a pleasure.

The cooking surface is silky smooth and the grilled ham and cheese sandwiches made a satisfying zipping sound sliding around on it. It seems like this pan retains heat nicely and yet is more responsive to temperature changes than any of the other modern CI I own. Also, I was tickled to find that the handle makes a great spoon rest. I inquired if that was by design, and Peter Huntley, Stargazer’s creator, replied, “I'd love to take credit for the built-in spoon rest, but it's just a coincidence that a comfortable curve for the hand is also a nice spot for a spoon. Who knew?” What a happy coincidence!

Then came the sear and sauté action in the Stargazer.

It is so slick. Even my hubby, who cares not about cookware, commented on what a nice pan it is. BTW, this was accompanied by Truffled Mashed Potatoes (check out Seared to Perfection for the recipe).

The more I use this pan, the more I love it. I wish new CI pans such as this were available when I was writing Seared to Perfection. I might’ve developed recipes a little differently.

Thank you to Peter and Stargazer for providing this pan in exchange for my unbiased opinion.


Naissan said...

Lucy, thank you so much for this post. I am currently contemplating investing in a good cast iron skillet. I am really interested in an 8 inch or smaller surface as I would like a healthy nonstick surface for making eggs. It's hard to decide between the Stargazer (at 10.5", bigger than I really wanted), the borough furnace 9" (smallest it comes in, looks great, but unsure about the raised handle, or a vintage griswold or Wagner skillet. I saw that finex makes an 8", but I am not crazy about the handle or the shape. Any recommendations on the above? Would this stargazer be too big for making eggs for 1-2 people? Thanks for your help.

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

All of those brands are good options, and choosing simply boils down to personal preference and budget. I do think the Stargazer is a bit large for 1 or 2 portions of eggs. I'd pick a 6 or 8" pan myself. My personal favorite egg pan is a De Buyer Mineral B Element.

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