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Copper-Bottomed Evasee Pans
I recently got a Sitram copper-bottomed evasee pan
, which is pretty great. First, it browns chicken and caramelizes onions much better than any of the (cheaper) pans I've used before. I attribute this to the copper bottom retaining enough heat so that when the chicken is thrown on, the pan doesn't cool off and start to steam the food instead of sauteing it. But whatever the theoretical explanation, it really works. The Evasee shape (with high, rounded sides) is really flexible too, making it easy to add vegetables to the meat, or wine for a sauce, or whatever. I don't know why this isn't a much more popular shape for a pan. High sides are often useful, and are rarely going to hurt. PCD's web site has a good description
of this type of pan.