In praise of: a new nonstick.

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 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).

8 thoughts on “In praise of: a new nonstick.

  1. Thanks for the review — I also saw this pan in Bon Apetit and was intrigued. I replaced all my nonstick with cast iron years ago, but it’s heavy!!

    • Emmy — the Aeternum pan is incredibly light-weight, and I was surprised by how cool the handle stayed on the stovetop, as well. I do love my cast-iron skillet and will use that for certain high-heat cooking, like pan-searing a good steak or pork chop. But this nonstick is great.

    • Hi, Dixie — thanks for the comment! You bet I’ll post an update after a couple of weeks; I hadn’t heard about the loss of finish.

  2. A conversation on Facebook prompted me to add a few notes to this post:

    What’s the deal with the nonstick finish? It’s a nanoceramic, as opposed to Teflon, which the EPA and other organizations have found to pose health concerns. Nanoparticles (supersupersuperteeny elemental bits) are a bit of an unknown, because their ultra-small size means they can be easily ingested into the body. But this nanoceramic coating apparently withstands higher heat than Teflon, so it’s less likely to break down and cause problems.

    Another note: This pan needs plastic or wooden utensils (as do other nonstick cookware), and it isn’t dishwasher safe. I discovered after using it to sauté scallops over a decent heat that some residue requires careful scrubbing (we used Soft Scrub). And I would probably not use this to pan-sear a steak — my well-seasoned cast-iron skillet would be my choice for beef or pork because of its heft and heat-transfer capability. But for veggies, chicken or seafood, the Aeternum is a great option.

  3. I have to laugh. My 5yo was entranced by an infomercial for a similar-looking product last week. “Mommy! You need to get this pan!” 🙂