It’s definitely daring to set expectations high- naming or deeming your product the “best”, “ultimate”, or “most extraordinary” can feel like a challenge, encouraging customers to nitpick even the most minor flaws. In the technology world, we’ve long since given up even on the idea of perfection, or even truly ‘finished’ items- software is only good until the next version, and even hardware is now subject to endless iterations. But certain gear can indeed achieve a sort of platonic ideal, and then a bit of boasting can come across more seriously.
Take Staub’s Perfect Pan- which looks like, and basically is, a wok. Sure, it’s a cast iron pan, which is probably the best core material to use for most situations thanks to even heat dispersion and durability. And it adds an easy-to-clean, non-stick enamel layer, which is only sensible and means the pan is dishwasher safe. Plus, it doesn’t require any seasoning like cast iron normally does, so it should be ready for use right out of the box. Ours did need a little bit- eggs stuck on our first try- but after only a couple of meals it was very smooth and even.
Staub, now owned by Zwilling J. A. Henckels, has been manufacturing cookware for more than 40 years, and they still produce this pan in France. It’s pretty heavy, but not enough to make you struggle, and thanks to a 12-inch diameter and 4.5 quart capacity, it’s large enough to be your primary go-to for family stir-fries. With wide, slightly sloped edges, you can easily toss without spilling. The handles are slightly small- we’re used to the single, long-handle flipping method- but are sturdy enough to grab and stir steadily. They’ve included a transparent glass lid so you can monitor cooking, or even for light steaming (think dumplings). Oven safe should you need to throw in a casserole, the Perfect Pan is also usable on a variety of heat sources including induction, though as with all woks, we suggest and mostly tested it with a strong gas cooktop.
Truly good for a variety of tasks, the Staub Perfect Pan really shone when it came time to fry rice- one of the easiest to make and most satisfying dishes, but also traditionally one that is very hard to make evenly and a pain to cleanup. We also enjoyed using it as a stewpot in a pinch. Staub also included wooden cooking chopsticks, a curved wooden spatula, and a half-stainless-steel rack in the package. Available in a few colors to fit your kitchen decor, the basic black is a classic, and the Perfect Pan can be found online and in stores now for around $180.