This huge and heavy sauté pan has achieved a glorious state of patina.
- Type: Tin-lined sauté in hammered finish with an iron handle fitted with three copper rivets
- French description: Sauteuse étamée et martelée avec queue de fer munie de trois rivets en cuivre
- Dimensions: 44cm diameter by 11cm high (17.3 inches by 4.1 inches)
- Thickness: 4mm at rim
- Weight: 15146g (33.4 lbs)
- Stampings: “J E GAILLARD PARIS 81 FAUBOURG ST DENIS”, “43” and “ANGLAIS”
- Maker and age estimate: Gaillard; 1880–1900
- Source: barttof
This is a big sauté pan, the biggest I have. The diameter of the pan is 44cm (it’s stamped 43, for reasons unknown to me) and the stick handle adds another 44cm (17.3 inches), so this is a large and unwieldy tool. Someone of substantial upper-body strength would have hauled this 33-pounder around, perhaps with help.
The identifying stamp ANGLAIS (“English”) must have been for a big kitchen. There have likely been many hôtels or restaurants Anglais across France, but I like to think that this one came from the fabled Café Anglais that stood at 13 Boulevard des Italiens in Paris from 1802 to 1913. Adolphe Dugléré was head chef from 1866 to 1884, and based on what I see in the construction of this pan, it might — just might — be old enough to have served under him.
At this size, this sauté pan hardly deserves the name. What we in the US call a “sauté pan” is drawn from the French verb sauter, to jump. In cooking, “jumping” is the technique of tossing the pan contents a few inches into the air and catching them again in the pan, which helps turn solid food over and cook it evenly. You can jump in any pan you like, but the sauté pan shape is particularly good for this. It offers a wide flat cooking surface so food can shift around, straight vertical sides to keep food from flying out of the pan, and in general, is a little heavier than a skillet so it holds heat should the chef choose to lift the pan off the cooktop and flick the pan vigorously in the air.
(To add some confusion, there is also the cooking term “to sauté,” which means to cook solid food [such as vegetables or steak or chicken or eggs or whatever] in a hot pan with some oil or butter. You aren’t limited to using a sauté pan to sauté, but the vertical sides of a sauté pan shape help to contain tossed food if you decide to sauter your sauté in your sauté.)
So while this particular sauté makes a great cooking surface, it’s just too big for vigorous jumping. It’s more suited to stay on the cooktop and, should the food need to agitated, to be tilted a bit and slid back and forth without lifting fully off.
What makes me say this? Here’s a closeup of the bottom front “lip,” so to speak, opposite the handle. If one were to lift the handle to tilt the pan, this is the edge that would rest on the stovetop.
Those are marks from sliding. Of course, with a pan this heavy, those could also be marks from moving it on and off a storage shelf, but I prefer to think the pan acquired them honorably through use.
Its patina is my favorite thing about this pan. It’s like you can read its history by running your fingers across the surface. It’s got little nicks and dents and scrapes all over, and they’ve picked up some dark stuff that makes them more visible. For me these marks of character are one of the most appealing qualities of vintage copper.
This is a J & E Gaillard pan, with an old-style mark on it, and likely quite old. The handle is firmly attached with enormous copper rivets as would be necessary for a pan of this weight.
The interior tin is in fairly good shape. I’d cook on it, though I haven’t had occasion to do so yet. Those little black specks tell me that this pan has been used since its last retinning and the tin has settled, so to speak, to produce a nicely low- to non-stick finish.
I adore this sauté. It reminds me of a gorgeous vintage Rolls Royce — a Silver Ghost, perhaps, a great heavy chassis clad in lovely metal panels that somehow communicate both speed and solidity at once.