A small writeup in the January issue of Bon Appetit sang the praises of the Aeternum line of nonstick cookware from Italian manufacturer Bialetti (makers of the beloved Moka stovetop espresso pot). The pans are Teflon-free, which is a bonus. But what caught my eye was this quote: “Food literally slides around on the ultra-slippery surface, which crisps chicken thighs just as well as our cast iron.”
Whaaa? A nonstick pan that actually browns and caramelizes food? Sounded too good to be true. And when I discovered that Amazon.com sells the 10-inch Aeternum saute pan for about $30, well, I had to check this out for myself.
Sure enough, this pan works as advertised: wickedly nonstick (food does slide around) yet capable of browning nicely. My first experiment was a batch of caramelized onions, which turned a lovely toasty color. And simple sautéed sea scallops were perfectly golden brown, and the pan generated enough fond (that’s the nice brown crumbs that proteins like meat or seafood throw off as they caramelize in a hot pan) to create a flavorful pan sauce. What’s more, the Bialetti Aeternum line is incredibly lightweight, and the nanoceramic nonstick coating doesn’t contain PFOA, a chemical common in Teflon-based nonstick pans that the EPA has found to be harmful to us and the environment.
If you’re looking to replace an old Teflon-based nonstick pan or are adding to your cookware wardrobe, I’d recommend Bialetti’s Aeternum line. I think the saute pans, available in 8-, 10- and 12-inch sizes, would be much more useful than the saucepans (it’s not often you need a nonstick saucepan).