Cooking with Gas

Last week, I got the range of my dreams. I’ve been pining away for a commercialesque gas range now for about as long as I can remember. Some people dream about their wedding dress or owning a fancy car. I dream about cooking with gas. I have pretty much always made do with a simple electric range… there was that one span in college when the apartment came with a old, white enamel gas stove from the 50s which put out about as much heat as a few votive candles huddled together for warmth. I’ve managed to cook up some pretty amazing stuff with the electrics too. But always there was a longing for something industrial and packed with BTUs. In April, we had natural gas run to the house. We were just doing the furnace (which like many older Seattle homes was still running on oil). The stove would have to wait. Then, work picked up, and suddenly Cam and I decided, hey… let’s just bite the bullet and get the stove. At long last, my stove was coming home.

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Of course, nothing is all that simple. To begin with, I had to figure out what stove I wanted. It became pretty clear to me pretty quickly that the Viking I had been envisioning was not a great choice. Although fit and finishwise, they are gorgeous machines, even a little bit of digging and you’ll soon see that they tend to be ultra prone with problems. That research lead me to Wolf and DCS, which subsequently lead me to a company called Bluestar. Although not available (at least at the moment) in the dual-fuel version I was hoping for, everyone who had a Bluestar was in love. To start with, they are one of the least expensive high-end ranges you can get, and have the most powerful cooktop, with a blazing 22,000 BTUs. I was pretty sold, until I went and looked at one that is. Cool and industrial, definitely… but the fit and finish started to scare me. The oven didn’t feel like it closed quite tightly enough and had some sharp edges. The open burners intimidated me as I thought of my panache for boiling over. While in the store, we stumbled across the American Ranges. These ranges have a similar price point to the Bluestars, but have closed burners with an easy to clean stainless top, and the oven is the largest in its class… easily able to fit full sized commercial baking pans. The edges were smooth all around, and while the burners weren’t quite the same as the Bluestars’, 17,000 BTU seemed like plenty for me (and about the same as the Wolf, DCS and Vikings). We went home to do more research, happily finding that American Range owners are nearly as religious about their stoves as the Bluestar owners. We were sold.

To get the stove in with the necessary duct work required some semi-serious kitchen demolition that included very large holes in the ceiling, cabinets, and eventually brick work. Amazingly, thanks mostly to Cam, it all came together, and after just over a week with chaotic kitchen construction, I ended up with one kick-ass stove and some killer ventilation to boot. Of course, before I got a chance to use it, we left town.

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But, finally, I’ve fired up the gas and started searing away. While my first meal on it wasn’t so much a great test (pasta and sauce on top with a zucchini gratin baking in the oven), tonight’s dinner was made for this stove. At the Pike Place market, I picked up four enormous sea scallops to sear. Just a little smoked sea salt, aleppo pepper and olive oil, one really hot frying pan and enough patience to let each side sear before touching them (this is always the hardest part). Topped with a little mango and green garlic salsa… yum.

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Seared Scallops with Mango and Green Garlic Salsa

The Salsa
1 mango, 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed, 1/4 dice
3 garlic spears, roughly chopped
1 lime
olive oil
aleppo pepper

Mix the mango, cucumber and chopped garlic together. Squeeze the lime juice on top, add a splash of olive oil and stir to coat. Add a pinch of aleppo pepper and salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for least 5 minutes.

The Scallops
4 large sea scallops
smoked sea salt
aleppo pepper
olive oil

Rinse the scallops and pat dry. Sprinkle with the salt and aleppo pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Heat a heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat for about 2-minutes. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan and heat. Add the scallops to the pan leaving plenty of room between each one. Cook on one side for 2 to 3 minutes without moving them. Then, flip them over, and cook on the other side until browned. Remove the scallops from the pan and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

Top each scallop with a healthy spoonful of the salsa.

  • Eric Wright

    Ooh, very nice! I’ve had my eye on “commercialesque” gas ranges for years, particularly after cooking dinners on our friend’s immensely powerful commercial Wolf range. (Commercial, as in actually used at a restaurant for a while. It’s still going strong 30 years later.) Sadly, our current kitchen is too small for a home version, so I’ll have to wait for the next house.

    Having not done the in-depth research myself, is price the main advantage of American Range over Wolf, or are there other perks? It sounds great.

  • L

    Price is a definite advantage… but reading up on them, I saw more overall service issues with Wolf than American Range. Now, part of that could be that American Range is fairly new in the home market. But, the American Range also has the largest oven capacity, being able to take a full commercial baking sheet, even in the 30 inch stove (which is what we got…). The oven is also supposed to be super consistent even though it is gas.

    The two places we found the most info on ranges were chowhound and Garden Web’s Home Forums (

  • peabody

    Welcome to the world of gas, it’s the best way to cook. :)

  • anna

    oh lucky you! im in the process of renovating my kitchen and its torture seeing my brand new stove sat in its place but not ready to be hooked up!! i cannot wait to get cooking again!

  • Inne

    You lucky woman! I can’t wait to cook on gas again, but it’s going to take another year or so until we get around to renovating our kitchen. I adore the look of smeg stoves, but their finish is quite rough, they are very expensive and not at all energy efficient, so the search for the perfect stove continues.
    The scallops look delicious.

  • anita

    Congratulations on your new addition! We did something very similar in our Seattle house (holes in brickwork sounds familiar), and it made such a difference in how much we wanted to cook. We saved the pro-style range for a later kitchen, though. :)

    I think the Vikings have gone downhill. We had no problems with our first four (yes, we move a LOT) but the current unit we have is flaky… mostly just in the burner-ignition department, which can be solved with a match. Still, it’s annoying and I don’t think I’d buy another Viking after being saddled with this crappy one. They’ve undone 10+ years of positive brand experiences with one bad round of quality control — pennywise and pound-foolish.

  • patsyk

    Congratulations and enjoy that new range! Those scallops look incredible… I may have to get up some courage and try cooking some… I’m terribly afraid of over-cooking them!

  • matt wright

    Congrats Lara, American Range are awesome!

    Obviously, as a Bluestar owner you are never going to convert me, but hey! I completely agree with you about Wolf and Viking.. Wolf in particular. I was hearing a lot about their electronics panels going out, and setting you back a grand at least to fix. If you ask me, I want a range without any complex electronics to go wrong! Both AR and BS give you that.

    Awesome looking scallops – talk about a perfect test for the range. I cannot believe the difference cooking on a high-heat gas stove compared to the crappy electric range I used, that wasn’t even level.

  • Sally

    Reading this post and seeing those delicious scallops has gotten me ever the more excited to try out my new (and first ever) gas range next month!

  • Christine

    I almost licked my screen.

    I just moved into a place with a gas stove, so I’ll have to give this a whirl.

  • Kim

    Your stove is lovely and I know how exciting it is. I once had a 6 burner Garland, which I adored. It makes a difference and gets nice and hot for baking bread in the oven. Happy for you.

  • Maria Liberati

    Isn’t it amazing how much of a difference that stove makes when cooking your luscious recipes. Not only the food you cook with makes a difference for your recipes but also the tools you use as well. I know I am running out tomorrow to buy scallops to try this recipe! Happy Cooking!

  • Mrs. L

    Congratulations on the new stove! Those scallops look wonderful.

  • Bea

    I want to see a picture of the stove in the kitchen!!!

  • Jessica

    As always, your photos are gorgeous, and look so right-here, right-now, I have to stop myself from drooling. I’m totally making these this weekend. I don’t have a commercial range, but I am working with gas.

  • Mallika

    Congratulations! I’d lve one of those. And yes, gas is infinitely better than electric!

  • frantic foodie

    enjoy! It really makes a difference!

  • Andrea

    Congrats on your new gas stove! I had trouble convincing my husband that gas was the way to go, but thankfully he saw the light and now wonders why he ever thought a smooth cooktop was so great! Our gas cooktop isn’t da bomb, but it does the job.

    Those scallops look so delicious!

  • Kaykat

    Yay! Gas rocks, doesn’t it? And I agree with Bea, show us a pic of the stove! :)

    I’m still trying to embrace scallops (too gritty for me), but that salsa sounds divine!

  • L

    Thanks all! And, OK… photo of the new stove in the kitchen coming soon… hopefully my next post.

  • Sorina

    It look’s to good to be through I am definitely going to try this

  • Tea

    I am so jealous! (you know how much I hate my stove).
    Have lots of fun with you new toy. May you be cooking happily together for years to come.

  • Jacques Etheart

    Just bought an American Range with raise gridle. How do you season the gridle?

  • Michelle

    I’m so jealous. :o( I won’t be getting any gas stove anytime soon. I unfortunately have to live with an electric coil range. One day I hope to have a range like yours. But until then, I’ll try your scallop recipe. Looks exquisite.

  • GirlCanBake

    Gas is the only way to go! It looks like the stove is worth all the demolition and holes. Those scallops look incredible!

  • Angela

    Wow! Those scallops are huge! I wonder how long it took them to grow to that size… And welcome to the wonderful world of gas! You’ll never look back.

  • kitchenbeard

    I envy the fact that your oven fits full sheet pans. Mine are currently stashed away because my oven won’t fit them yet I’m holding onto them in a desperate need to feel I’ll make use of them some day.

  • lo

    ooooh. aaaaaah.
    Someday, the gas range of my dreams will come… in the meantime, I’ll live vicariously!


  • Foodguy

    I no longer have to worry about what’s for dinner tonight. Off to the fishmonger for sea scallops! Thanks for the great recipe and awesome photos!

  • Kimberly

    love cooking,,, bought an old rennovation house last year.. new everything.. kitchen electrolux appliances.. the gas stove/range is beyond comprehension.. everythig is turning out on target,, I am learning the gas, & yet results are better than being a veteran electric chef so to speak. I have only tipped the iceberg on realizing & enjoying the world of cooking great food with gas.

  • Jean

    We purchased an old stone house (1825) and after 5 years ,we decided to redo the kitchen and only a gas range would do the trick and suit the stone walls of the kitchen. So listening to my friend’s advice (’cause of his cooking experience) and looking at different stoves and prices, we decided on a dcs. I just can wait to cook at night. This is my first experience with gas range It is a complete different feeling and way of cooking I love it and by the way I will try those scallops… Jean from Quebec.

  • Em

    Hi Lara!

    Are you still loving your American Range, two and a half years on? Your post inspired us those years ago, and now that we’re finally homeowners and in the market for the range of our dreams, we’re still lusting after the 30″ AR. Has it given you any problems since the honeymoon period?

    Thanks so much for your fantastic blog. It’s one of our favorites.

    • L

      Hi Em – The cooktop is great… it took a bit of getting used to because it is quite a bit hotter than the typical residential stovetop… so slow simmer can be a bit of an issue, even on the simmer burner… but I definitely miss it when I cook on other tops now!

      The oven is a bit hit & miss. I love the size, but even with the convection, the heat seems a bit uneven. I don’t know if that is a problem with gas ovens in general (the one other gas oven I used is also a bit uneven) or just the AR.


  • gas plumbing

    Gas stoves allow for more even heat spread for stove-top cooking, which will generally produce better results. Gas also heats up faster than electricity, allowing cooking to begin immediately.