Published on December 24th, 2009 | by Greg0
Cooking With Magnets (and Fagor)
Have you ever read through “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle? In the introduction Julia Child discusses the best type of stoves for different cooking situations. It’s easy to see her predilection for gas ranges, though the publish date (1961) shines through when she gives a heads up to electric. Most serious cooks have a preference for gas, due to the ability to control almost every nuance of temperature. It’s hot when it’s on, and cold when it’s not. That’s a good thing when cooking. So now there’s a relative newcomer on the cooking scene, induction cooktops. With induction heat is only generated under the surface of metals like iron and steel- anything that a magnet will stick to. Once again the result is heat when the pan is on the burner, and cold when the pan is off, much like gas. If you’re using aluminum pans, then induction isn’t the right choice for you.
Thankfully we’ve offered some pans that would work with induction cooktops quite well, so you’re in luck, right? By now you’ve probably guessed that we have an induction cooktop to talk about and you would be right! Fagor’s Portable Induction Cooktop is a nice way to get a feel for induction cooking. It’s a nice single burner cooktop, powered by a 110V outlet, so it can be used anywhere there’s a plug. While it’s not a great choice for using as your primary cook top because of it’s size it’s a really great option to have. Especially useful in dorms, as well as less conventional places like campers or RV’s, and possibly even in outdoor BBQ areas.
Induction cooktops combine the best parts of ceramic top electric stoves and gas ranges. Immediate temperature control and ease of clean-up. The temperature ranges from 190 to 430 degrees, though we did find that there seems to be a bit of a hot-spot in the center of the burner. There are six heat settings, which seem to get the job done despite a slight learning curve with the controls. Once we learned that it’s better to tap the controls, all was well. (Let’s face it, we’re so used to touch-screen tapping controls with all of our iProducts that it was less of a learning curve than we were expecting.) There’s a feature that shuts the burner off after a certain amount of time, which is awesome if you are the forgetful type. The unit also automatically shuts off when the timer stops, so even if you don’t hear your timer there’s no chance that you’ll overcook food. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about induction cooking is that even when it’s on the burner won’t feel hot to your fingers. If you put your hand inside a pan that activates the burner, that’s a different story, and we’d recommend you NOT do that, lest you burn yourself. Overall it’s a worthwhile cooking experience, and has really made us consider induction cooking a truly viable option that we’d like to work with some more.
The Fagor Portable Induction Cooktop is available from Sur La Table and Amazon and will run right around $199.