I know the popular saying is, “You eat with your eyes first,” but I think the adage can be adapted to a variety of different situations. How about, “You shop for pots and pans with your eyes first”? I suspect that must be printed on a poster somewhere at Neoflam headquarters, because their products are soooo cah-yute! These guys are like the Etsy of cookware, and without the added worry of handmade product defects.
This 9-pc. set of Neoflam Midas Plus ceramic cookware comes in three different color schemes – Multicolor, Emerald Blue, and Sunrise Red. The set I received for review is the Emerald Blue, which – what? Emeralds are green, aren’t they? Regardless, they are wonderfully whimsical and fit right in with all the other colorful tchotkes in my kitchen, like the bright orange dinosaur-shaped ladle, and green alligator silicone oven mitt. Why yes, I’m one of those people.
Be warned though, “9 piece set” does not mean you’re getting 9 different pots and pans. All the lids and even the detachable handle each count as a piece here, so what you do get is two frying pans (8” and 10”) and two stock pots (1.6qt/6” and 2.8qt/8”), along with two tempered glass lids (6” and 8”), two plastic lids (6” and 8”), and the aforementioned handle. It would have been nice if they had included a 10” glass lid for the larger frying pan, but luckily I already had one in my arsenal that was a good fit.
Not An Eames Chair, But A Darn Good Skillet
You can tell that the folks at Neoflam really pride themselves on design, and I don’t just mean the wide range of bright, funky colors their products come in. Something like a removable, interchangeable handle – which allows the pans to go directly from stovetop into the oven, and make them much easier to store – seems like such a no-brainer, and that is precisely why it works so well. Neoflam knew I needed it before I did. Even the flat angled knob on the tempered glass lids serves a purpose, allowing you to prop the lid up on the counter without it rolling around and getting in your way while you heroically fight the pasta water back from boiling over. It’s the small details that can really make or break a fairly straightforward item like a stockpot.
Overall, this set is a dream for anyone who desperately needs to save on some shelf space in their kitchens – perfect for dorm rooms, RVs, and overpriced studio apartments in L.A. The entire set is stackable and even comes with handy felt inserts that you use in between the pans to protect the ceramic coating. I cannot stress enough how much easier it is to find space for a pan when you don’t have an awkward protruding handle to worry about – just take it off and store separately or inside the topmost pot. This versatility is mirrored in the simple but thoughtful inclusion of sealable plastic lids for each of the stockpots. Just store your leftovers in the fridge directly in the pot you cooked them in without having to deal with a bulky lid and knob in your way. The fridge is for stacking, people!
No need for butter
Aesthetics aside, I knew the real question was, what could this fancy set of pans do for me and my culinary prowess? I had to put them to the test, and did so with gusto.
Neoflam pans boast a professional grade non-stick ceramic coating. Good ol’ Teflon has seriously fallen out of fashion of late (it may or may not give you cancer and could potentially cause bird genocide, depending on who you ask) so ceramic and copper pans are all the rage. But, in my experience, some of these super-duper-non-stick surfaces (especially the cheaper ones) are actually extra-super-sticky and will turn any simple omelet into a failed science experiment. Not so with the Neoflam! In fact, an omelet was the first thing I tried to make using the 10” skillet, and I’m pleased to report that the eggs were slipping and sliding around the pan like Michelle Kwan (remember her?). No stick, no mess, and barely any cleanup.
The easy cleanup is a huge bonus with this set. In fact, most of the time the pans ended up needing little more than a thorough wipe down. The surface is very and truly difficult to get stuff stuck to, and if you’re looking to cut down on using oils and fats in your cooking, this is a great option. I even used the 10” skillet to bake a honey cornbread in lieu of a baking pan, and did NOT lightly grease it before pouring in the batter as the recipe directed (for science!). I expected things to be a bit of a mess, but the bread popped right out of the pan leaving no residue behind, and had a perfectly crisp brown crust to boot. I ATE SO MUCH BREAD.
But Will It Fry?
The Neoflam pans consistently gave me a nice, even cook with no hotspots. I loved the versatility of being able to use these skillets to sear chicken or steak on the stovetop and then finish them off in the oven by simply removing the handle. This is something that I’d previously only been able to do with my cast-iron skillet, but I much prefer the Neoflam because it is so lightweight. Getting the heavy cast iron to and from the oven was always a precarious exercise with my weak noodle arms. Going directly from stovetop to oven also cuts down on getting an extra oven-safe dish dirty, which is a big plus in my kitchen.
Some might say that one pan is as good as any, but I actually found this set of skillets a lot handier than the ones in my kitchen that I’ve become so used to. The extra inch or so of depth that these give you makes it a lot easier to avoid spills or runaway food items when the cooking gets a touch too vigorous. I also found it to be the perfect depth for braising or cooking sauce-based foods, like curries.
I did worry that the detachable handle would be a bit of a hassle to use when cooking with two of the pans at the same time. However, I accomplished this feat several times with very little difficulty. The handle is pretty easy to attach and detach quickly once you get the hang of it. It took me about two tries to become a pro handle-handler, and I’m frankly not that dexterous. The real question is, will the handle’s mechanism hold up to years of use? That’s one I can’t answer, but I can say that the quality of construction seems to be high, and Neoflam does sell replacement handles on their website for $16 should the need for one arise.
Overall, cooking with these skillets and stockpots was a delight. It feels weird to gush about a set of pans so profusely, but when a well-made product delivers exactly what it sets out to do, and does so while looking so darn adorable, it’s hard not to be giddy.