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A Flat Pan – Deserted Island Kitchen item #6

We eat flatbread at least once a day—crispy many layered parathas, crépes stuffed with fruit or made savoury, and delicious whole wheat chapati are some of our favourite things to eat.

Our favourite thing to cook any of these things on is a flat cast-iron or carbon-steel griddle. Cooking in a walled skillet, it’s hard to get your spatula under what you’re cooking—and things also hold on to too much moisture, which means they may cook unevenly. We bought our first flat pan when Tazim and I moved in together ten years ago. She took me to the Indian store and we picked up a wooden-handled tawa—basically a slab of round carbon steel with a handle lackadasically stuck on, for something like $10. Once it was seasoned properly, I couldn’t believe how much better things turned out.

We still have that pan and use it on occasion—but we’ve had to fight rust on the bottom, the ever-wobbly handle—and the fact that I keep on forgetting that it’s not oven safe.

For a long while, we had our eye on this Le Creuset crépe pan. The last time I threw the wooden handled skillet in the oven, and set off the smoke detector, we finally caved in and bought one. At just over 10″ around it’s the perfect size for our needs, and we’re pretty sure that we’ll be passing it on to the next generation of cooks in our household. It seems nigh-on indestructible.

It does cost more than the one we got at the Indian store, mind you, it’s likely to last ten times as long.

And from the very first day we were impressed with how well the pan releases food. As long as you let it heat up, then brush a little oil on, it works absolutley perfectly. And the heat retention of the cast iron is amazing—things seem almost to cook themselves.

It’s our most used pan next to our wok and pressure cooker—so we’d definitely lug it all the way to our . . . and if we ever got in a jam, it would probably make a pretty good club.

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