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Fontignac: The enameled cast iron debate continues

I never tried this because of the self-basting lid thing. It seemed to me the flat foil layer would interfere with steam circulation, so thanks for letting me know it doesn't. Wrapping up over the lid sounds like a great idea.

Cooks Illustrated is my favorite techniques source. I've kept back issues in binders going back to the 90's, issue 22. I remember reading about the foil there somewhere. I like the scientific method they use, plus they give me strokes for my good choices when they give a top rating to something I already have. Seems like we agree a lot.

We even created an Excel list for favorite recipes that refers to the issue/page for easy finding later. We use it for all our cookbooks, but only the best recipes we've actually used and like.

Jul 27, 2012
EqualOpKitchen in Cookware

Easy Philly Cheesesteaks

Agreed, this isn't a "real" cheesesteak, but I like this better. I've also used leftover rare slow roast beef sliced thin & heated in au jus - sort of a French Philly Dip. No need to toast the bun, just saute the vegs, heat the jus & beef in a separate pan, put beef & vegs on the buns, add shredded provalone, and heat in broiler, open-face, till cheese melts. Close the sandwich & use jus for dipping. Great with horseradish.

Jul 27, 2012
EqualOpKitchen in Recipes

Fontignac: The enameled cast iron debate continues

We bought a 7 qt red Fontignac from Williams Sonoma a few years ago after looking at Le Creuset, but when the clerk saw us balk at the price, she steered us to this. We're very happy with the Fontignac, although we haven't used Le Creuset at all.

Heavy: great for heat retention & even cooking, but not easy to handle for pouring or washing. My wife leaves that to me.

Quality: enamel is almost non-stick. Browns meat very well and cleans up extremely easily - usually with just a dish cloth. Nice red matches our kitchen full of red accessories. Cream interior great to ensure it gets clean.

Heat: mostly use it on stovetop, heat it slowly (empty, but no flaking etc). The phenolic knob limits oven temp to 400, but most recipes for slow cooking are below that, so no issue. I'll replace it with a steel knob from the hardware if/when necessary.

Seal: lid does not have perfect seal, there's a gap in certain positions. I have to rotate the lid and remember the position compared to handles to avoid steam loss. A little disappointed about this, but not sure if all their products have imprecise lids or just ours. The small inconvenience is offset by the cost savings.

Country of origin: not made in USA, but neither are any other enameled iron pots that I could find. I think my next purchase will be a 3 qt Lodge (made in China) which has great reviews and low price on Amazon etc.

Jul 27, 2012
EqualOpKitchen in Cookware