I’m frankly sick of non-stick pans. I’ve had many, and eventually, their surfaces all start to disintegrate, regardless of how gently you treat them. Even my mega-bucks Gastrolux ($250-$300 apiece) have lots of cracks that worry me with respect to the leaching of harmful chemicals. Gastrolux’s original surface formula was rock hard, and it’s claim to fame was that you could even use metal utensils. But the formula was changed, I suspect because with the harder surface they tended to quickly lose their nonstick properties. The new surfaces are shit.
And less expensive pans, even if you take the “disposable” approach and decide to turf them once the surface frays, tend to warp and create a poor cooking platform; Like a bad suit of clothing that lasts a long time, ensuring you’ll always look like shit.
Finally fed up, yesterday I invested in a Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron pan. A big advantage is that there is no surface coating to flake, as well as the fact that you can put them from stove top right into the hot oven due to the one-piece design.
I tested mine on two sunny-side up eggs this morning and the pan performed beautifully; the eggs peeled off without a hitch. I used a small amount of olive oil and basted the tops of the eggs with the hot oil as they cooked. It saves you having to flip them if you don’t like a runny top.
Cast iron pans do require some care, mainly in that they should never come in contact with soap, requiring only a manual surface brushing to get rid of any bits that might stick (think BBQ grill – over time, the carbon buildup becomes non-stick). And they’re damned heavy! But beautiful at the same time. And a steal, price wise; my 12 inch pan was $40 (cheaper in the USA at around $33).
I bought Lodge because they are apparently the last remaining US foundry for cast-iron pans. There was a very nice China-made pan for 25% less, but I “went American”; hey, you’ve got to walk the talk!