Here's Why You Need A Little Skillet
by HexClad Cookware
When stocking your kitchen, the choice of pan sizes can feel overwhelming. Though you might think a medium or large skillet is all you need, a little skillet (around 8 inches or so) is a versatile tool to add to your kitchen if you’re a regular cook. (The terms “skillet” and “frying pan” can be used interchangeably.) Since heat is distributed across the entire surface of the pan, you want to choose a size that fits the amount of food you want to cook. (You don’t want to fry a single egg in a large skillet, for instance.) Choose a little skillet when there’s no risk of overcrowding, which can cause food to steam and/or cook unevenly. If you’re looking to fry more than two eggs or make a bigger batch of veggies, then upgrade to a bigger pan. While nonstick isn’t necessary for a little skillet, it is a good pick when buying an 8-inch frying pan since the size is ideal for omelets, which benefit from the a nonstick surface. We bet you’ll be happy to add this petite size to your kitchen arsenal.
Here are the 5 reasons you need a little skillet:
A nonstick little skillet is just the thing for both French-style omelets and filled, diner-style omelets for one. Any larger than 8-inches and your omelet will turn out more like a thin crêpe than a fluffy omelet. The small surface area forces the eggs upward, giving them loft and body.
Try making fried eggs for one in a big pan and you’ll quickly realize that it doesn’t go well. Instead, opt for an 8-inch pan, which has the right surface area to make one or two eggs. To make sunny side up eggs in your little skillet, start by heating the pan over medium-high heat. Then, add about a tablespoon of butter (or another fat like olive oil) to the pan, and let it melt and foam. Add the cracked eggs into the pan and cook until the whites are set and opaque but the yolk is still bright yellow. Top the pan with a lid if you like a slightly more cooked yolk, or gently flip the eggs for over easy.
Many recipes call for small amounts of nuts and seeds to be toasted before proceeding, but using the oven is time-consuming (and less energy efficient). To toast less than 1 cup nuts or seeds, opt for your little skillet. Same goes for spices, which are easily corralled in a little skillet to bring out their flavor. Once the pan is cool, you can use the little skillet to crush the seeds, too. Transfer the toasted, cooled spices to a rimmed baking sheet and use the bottom of the pan to crush them until powdery.
As mentioned above, a little skillet is the only way to go when you’re frying eggs for one. The same goes for scrambled eggs, a few strips of bacon, or a few mushrooms. Try making a frittata for one with leftover roasted veggies in your little skillet: first reheat the vegetables in some oil, then pour in the eggs and top with grated cheese. Transfer to the broiler to finish cooking. French toast is easy for one person with a little skillet. Cook off just one soaked piece of bread, or cook two in batches for a more decadent meal.
Rather than using a bigger pan (which will scorch when cooking smaller amounts), opt for your little skillet for solo dinners. For an easy, healthy meal, start by searing off a small protein (like steak, chicken breast, pork chop, or piece of fish) and then make a super fast side dish in the same skillet. A handful of peas and spinach make it a meal without making for excessive leftovers you’ll get sick of eating. Or, add a ½ cup of drained canned beans and some frozen broccoli florets and cook until heated through. Finish off with a pat of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Choose an 8-inch frying pan for everything from sautéing a small amount of vegetables to making a grilled cheese sandwich (yes, that counts as dinner).