A flash in the pan

Elise Sullivan photo

We eat a lot of chicken in our house, and I’m always looking for new and inventive ways to prepare it. Roasted, poached, slow cooker, sauteed, stir-fried … the possibilities are endless, yet I’m always on a quest to discover another method. I think chicken tastes best when my husband cooks it on the grill, when it features those those mouth-watering grill marks that everyone always seems to want. I’ve tried to recreate this indoors, both on the stove and in the oven, but it’s never quite the same.

Over the years, I’ve acquired a number of cooking pans, from my original Macy’s “Tools of the Trade” wedding gift registry cookware set and a wok (which I’ve never used) to a Calphalon non-stick cooking skillet and an All-Clad stainless steel pan. I like to buy large, 12” pans that can go from stove to oven, and have amassed quite a collection.

I’ve always wanted to try a cast iron skillet, but since we have a glass top (i.e., “potentially breakable”) range, and since cast iron is so incredibly heavy, I have been hesitant to buy one. We had a set from my husband’s parents which we never used and which we finally gave away, but I’m regretting that now, as I would have liked to try them, despite the potential risk to our stove.

I watch a lot of cooking shows, and I can’t help but notice how many celebrity chefs use a grill pan on their stove, making chicken or steak or fish that features those beautiful grill marks I’m so desperate to recreate.

A month or so ago, I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond, determined to buy some type of grill pan to replicate what I saw on The Chew or The Rachael Ray Show (if stovetop grilling is good enough for Mario Batali or Rachael Ray, then it’s good enough for me!). There were several options, and after lifting each pan to feel its weight and heft (yes, the cast iron were as heavy as I remembered), reading the instructions and maintenance, and finally, looking at the price, I chose a Calphalon non-stick grill pan (not cast iron) with raised “grilling” ridges that was on sale and cost about $24 after my store coupons.

Impatient to test drive my newest acquisition, I raced home and immediately marinated some chicken in olive oil and Margarita mix. I put my new pan on the stove, drizzled some olive oil into it, and put the chicken on to cook. After only a few minutes on each side, I was thrilled to see the requisite grill marks, and the chicken smelled delicious. I placed the semi-cooked chicken on a baking sheet and popped it in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 13 minutes. The result? When I served it for dinner, my family practically stood up and cheered (well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but they did say they really loved it, and have been asking me every few days to make it again). It did taste just about as good as chicken on the outdoor grill, I have to say, and I’m more than satisfied with my grill pan purchase.

This is the perfect time for you to try something new at home, whether it’s small or large, indoors or out. In the June 2017 issue of Home, for example, three interior designers explain to writer Marianne Kelly how to light up a room with fabrics, paint, and more, while Pam Brown discusses the ins and outs of water gardens; Joanne Rochman shares tips on creating a memorable tabletop for entertaining, and Karen Berman provides inspiration for throwing a summer brunch. We’re offering up the ideas … the rest is up to you! To read these articles and more, please visit thehomemonthly.com.

Please email me at home@hersamacorn.com with questions or comments.


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