Le Creuset, known for its colorful enameled cast iron, has introduced a line of stainless-steel skillets, casseroles, and stock pots. I particularly like the chef’s pan, a 3-1/2-quart cross between a sauté and a stir-fry pan. The curved sides are high enough to contain a mass of vegetables for sautéing, yet the pan is wide enough to reduce a sauce, and the flat bottom nicely sears fish or chicken fillets. It features a helper handle and lid, is three-ply stainless over an aluminum core, and has a magnetized exterior, making it compatible with induction cooktops. The chef’s pan shown here is $160 at ChefTools.com, where you can see the entire stainless-steel line.
Lodge Manufacturing now offers the Lodge Signature Series, a line of pans that combines the great heat conducting of cast iron with attractive, stay-cool stainless handles. We like the sturdy rivets and the handsome look of these pre-seasoned skillets, grill pans, casseroles, and Dutch ovens. The bling doesn’t come cheap, though: While a 10-inch traditional Lodge Logic chef skillet is $18, a 10-inch skillet in the Lodge Signature line costs $90. Visit Lodgemfg.com.