I was five.
A handful of years ago, the folks at Swiss Diamond invited me to demonstrate their cookware at the huge wholesale AmericasMart in Atlanta. I was skeptical, but took on a few pieces to work with prior to the demonstration. I was hooked.
This thoroughly modern cookware, with its non-stick surface impregnated with industrial diamonds, performs well beyond the delicate non-stick surfaces of yesterday. It’s lighter weight than cast iron and delivers extraordinarily even heat across the cooking surface. Even the oblong fish pan set on one burner heats evenly enough to make over easy eggs in one side and pancakes in the other.
I don’t want to sound like one of those hucksters who shill for “miracle” non-stick cookware at flea markets and trade shows. This is the real deal cookware; a kitchen tool that I like to refer to as legacy cookware. Like the best cutlery, great cookware should survive a generation – and become the treasured lore of the next – like my beloved cast iron.
Let me nutshell Swiss Diamond for you:
It’s a performer. The diamond coating and pan construction is highly conductive, which means even heat. Without getting all Mr. Science on you, the surface also encourages the creation of fond (the crispy, crunchy bits) that become the tasty parts stews, gravies and sauces.
It’s easy to use. On a no oil or no butter diet? No problem. Sunday night I prepared Cod filets for my wife in a pan with no oil or butter. The fish browned, and then turned beautifully. Or course, add a little butter or vegetable oil – and the results are even more amazing. Clean up requires warm soapy water and a sponge. The cookware is dishwasher safe, but prefers to be hand washed. Shh, don’t tell my wife, but my small fry is only used for eggs – I wipe it out with a wet paper towel!
It’s resilient. In a pinch, you can use that metal spatula without doing permanent damage like with older coatings. I use silicone utensils – remember, I want this to be legacy cookware. Even when deglazing, the non-stick surface is a star. A splash of wine or beer and a quick scrap with the silicone spatula and I’ve got a perfectly smooth pan bottom – ready to ease into simmering.
Did I mention even heating? Yeah, I did, but it’s worth repeating. This is not cookware that needs to be cranked up on high to use. A medium setting and about a 5-minute preheat insures spot-on performance. I’m able to simmer with my gas range set to the lowest setting. The handles are oven-safe to 500 degrees, which means there’s no more need to flip that fritatta or finish a dish in another pan. Wow, just one pan to clean up – and it only requires warm soapy water!
For this recipe, I used the Swiss Diamond 3.2 qt. sauté pan. Don’t let the name fool you. This kitchen tool is a true workhorse, capable of frying (with its deep sides), sauté or simmering a just right dinner for two to four. You can stay abreast of Swiss Diamond products on the company Facebook page. To learn more about the cookware I used for this recipe, click here.
Beef Stew for Two1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 (1-pound) boneless chuck roast
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, large dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2 medium carrots
2 medium celery stalks
2 medium potatoes
1/2 cup frozen peas
Season ¼ cup flour with salt and pepper. Trim excessive fat and sinew from beef (These are usually two- to three-pound pieces. Cut into one-pound pieces for this recipe and freeze remaining pieces.). Cut into bite-sized pieces and thoroughly coast with flour mixture.
Pre-heat pan on medium heat for 5 minutes, then add 1 Tablespoon oil. Shake excess flour from beef and add to pan to brown well on all sides. Brown in batches to avoid overcrowding. Add oil with each batch – expect about three batches. When all beef is browned, set aside and add onions, sprinkle lightly with salt.
Sauté until just tender, then add tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste is just beginning to change color.
Add red wine, deglaze completely, and then add back all the beef and any juices. Add beef broth, bay leaves and thyme. Stir, bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer. Simmer one hour with the lid off.
After one hour, add carrots, celery and potatoes. Cover and continue to simmer for one more hour or until beef is tender.
When tender, add frozen green peas – or not – but the peas add a nice spot of color. The stew can be eaten solo with nice crusty bread or served over rice. I served mine over broad egg noodles.