A saucier is a cross between a skillet and a saucepot. It has wide based rim with a narrow base surface for cooking. Its sidewall are tall to hold ample amount of liquid for making sauces and soup. Give its versatility, many consider it to be the one pan you should have for any kitchen. Le Creuset Stainless Steel saucier brings in all the best features of what a saucier should be. Even America Test Kitchen rates it as one of the best saucier around. Having said that, what makes their saucier stand out from the rest? Hopefully its not just the price. This review will go through all the design features that this pot has and discuss whether it deserves a place in your kitchen.
Why you should avoid Le Creuset Cast Iron Saucier
Le Creuset has two version of a saucier, their traditional cast iron saucier and the stainless steel one. If you look at what the main function of a saucier is, you will find its mostly to make sauces. Le Creuset Cast Iron Saucier, while a good vessel for retaining heat, makes for a poor choice in making sauces. Sauces tend to be very delicate and they react negatively to too much heat or too little. With a cast iron saucier your choice of temperature will probably only be too hot. While that might be perfect for searing steaks and salmons, it will not be able to adjust the heat as well as a cladded pan with a aluminum core. Not to mention the added weight of cast iron, you will have a very difficult time manipulating the pan when making sauces.
Le Creuset Stainless Steel Saucier Design
The handle on Le Creuset Stainless Steel saucier is hollow inside with a Y attachment. It is there to reduce the amount of heat transfer. This inhibits the ability of a metal handle to get hot while cooking on the stove top. However common sense should come in play here. Caution should always be taken when cooking with a metal handle. Always use a glove or towel when grabbing the handle. Do not be overly comfortable with a metal handle.
The angle of the handle affects ergonomic
The angle of this handle is almost perpendicular to the pot itself. This gives it a horrible ergonomic grip and place strain on your wrist. If you think about it, whenever we grab a handle we are grabbing it from a position up high. Our index and thumb will naturally tilt downward while our palm will be in the upper position. To give a more ergonomic grip, the handle should have a angle that is tilted toward the user. The fact that the handle has a belly on the underside just makes it worse. On the top the wide flat surface helps prevent the pan from rotating in your hand.
Luckily, there is a helper handle to reduce the strain on your hand. Unfortunately the lip of the pan gets in the way of the helper handle. If you try to grip it based on that area alone, it digs into your hand. Aside from that, it does help when you carry it with both hand. This aids in carrying a large amount of liquid.
How materials and color affect branding
Oddly enough, the lack of color on the logo makes it looks like one of those Japanese fish cake. Near the base of the handle, the font of the Le Creuset looks almost robotic. Interesting how different color and material affects branding.
Shape of a Le Creuset Stainless Steel Saucier
The shape of this saucier is what makes it so great. The gentle gradient from the bottom to the top of the pan is seamless. Most other saucier have a straight L edge that lets food get stuck. It is very annoying when you are whisking sauces. You really have to dip in with a whisk or spoon to get that edge.
The base is wide enough so that you can sear food but still small compared to a frying pan. You will most likely have to sear meats in batches. The area where it curves upward will not generate as much heat as the flat bottom. On the rim, the lip is rolled for easy pouring of liquid, a necessity for any saucier.
How a saucier reduces sauces quicker than other pan is mainly due to surface area. The larger the surface area, the greater the reduction in liquid. They typically have a big taper in size from the diameter of the rim to the base. Rim to Rim I measure a 10 inch in diameter with the flat surface diameter being rough 5.5 inch. That is almost half its rim diameter!
Lid used as a serving tray
I think I heard in a review by America Test Kitchen that the lid can be used as a serving tray. I disagree, it is very unstable and food can fall over very easily. If you manage to place food on the lid, it is still very easy to knock over. I wouldn’t put food on it.
Cladding and Thickness
While this pan should be fully cladded but it feels like the thickness is not uniform from the base. I cannot verify this as I do not have a caliper big enough but the sidewall feels thinner. Using my micrometer I found that it has a thickness of around 2.22 mm. Honestly, something like this probably wont matter. It is meant to reduce sauces. You probably wont get much of a scorching issue.
Le Creuset Made in Portugal
Much like their stoneware, the manufacturing of these cookware is outsourced. This stainless steel line of Le Creuset product is made in Portugal. This does not necessarily mean bad. My review on their Au Gratin Dish actually found that the stoneware actually has a superior fit and Finish. And those products are made in Thailand, not France.
For more information about the stainless steel line of cookware from Le Creuset, check out the video below.
Fit and Finish
Fit and Finish is good, almost to the point where it seems machine made. On the rivets, there is a rippling affect on the metal. It is apparent on all the area where there are rivets. Interesting enough, the base is a brushed metal while the side is polished. This is probably done to promote heat transfer; a shiny surface actually reflects and inhibits heat transfer.
Le Creuset Stainless Steel Saucier Conclusion
What really makes this pan outstanding is the shape of the pan. The smooth gradient that you see on this saucier should be a standard on any saucier. As far as I know All Clad and Matfer Bourgeat are the only two other cookware manufacturer who follows this design. The handle on this saucier is my main concern about it, but other than that, it is a solid saucier. I recommend getting it if you are looking for a large size saucier.
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