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GHISANATIVA: pots, pans, grill pans in naked cast iron and portable hobs in cast iron

Ghisanativa and the Maillard Reaction

From bread to grilled vegetables, from meat to chips via beer and roasted coffee, Maillard reactions are those that give food its typical browning and “distinctive” flavour.

The best-known effect is when meat is cooked, but the vegetable world is also widely involved in the phenomenon: think of sautéed onions, grilled courgettes or aubergines, fried potatoes, or battered vegetables… In practice, most of our foods cooked to over 140° develop Maillard reactions provided they contain proteins and sugars.

Red meats generally contain more sugar than white meats, but a drizzle of honey (sugar doesn’t work…) or a short marinade in wine or orange juice is enough to give a chicken breast or pork chop that tasty, aromatic crust. As an acidic environment (wine, vinegar, citrus juice) counteracts or delays the reactions, this acidity can be corrected with a very small addition of sodium bicarbonate, which is perfect for giving that “distinctive” flavor to a chopped onion or roasted meat.

Tests carried out on red and white meats with cooking surfaces made of different materials (cast iron, aluminum, tinned copper, bare iron, and steel) in contact with an induction hob with a pre-cooking temperature of 210°C, showed that the maillardisation obtained on the surface at 175°C was faster, more uniform and more intense on the cast iron plate, with the development of much more intense characteristic “grill” aromas and flavours. Insufficient quality of maillardisation on aluminium and Teflon.

Only iron, or rather cast iron, ensures that the Maillard reactions take place completely. 

Copper and aluminium give unsatisfactory results, while enamels or other synthetic substances hinder the correct formation of aromatic compounds. But even with ferrous materials, a distinction must be made: the Lyon frying pans (the black iron ones used by grandma for frying, for example) and the stainless-steel ones are too thin to preserve the heat and distribute it evenly; moreover, they make the food stick to the points of greatest heat. All that’s left is cast iron, whose greater thickness allows constant and uniform heat distribution. And among cast irons, the only one with natural non-stick properties is Ghisanativa.

The brownish lumps that collect at the bottom of the pan or griddle after cooking a steak or roast are the cooking juices: real concentrates of flavour created by Maillard reactions. They should not be thrown away but collected by “deglazing”. Just add a little liquid (water, wine, liqueur, beer…) on Ghisanativa’s bottom to transform them into a more or less concentrated juice to pour on the meat before serving it or to use them in the preparation of a stock or a sauce.

Since the very first use of Ghisanativa, you will notice how meat and fish are cooked to perfection without drying out, how fried foods are impeccable, roasts and stews are tasty and juicy, vegetables are crispy and compact, fried foods are homogeneous and doughs are soft and airy.

Maillard reaction on Tuna

Maillard reaction on chicken

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