I was reading the article How to, What To, When To Sear (http://www.cheftalk.com/a/how-to-what-to-when-to-sear) and the part "Fundamentally, the searing experience should start with a screaming hot sauté pan..." was a little bit "scary" to me because I read also, several times, that I should never use high heat on stainless cookware (I have All-Clad MC2).
"... screaming hot sauté pan..." and my new All-Clad shouldn't go together?!?!?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
You don't need to use high-heat to get a screaming hot pan. Just preheat on medium heat for a longer time and your stainless steel pan should be hot enough for a decent searing.
For best searing, try using cast iron or carbon steel (I use the latter). They both have better heat retention and conduction than tri-ply stainless steel.
But still you should be able to do a perfectly decent searing job with a tri-ply stainless steel.
Regardless of you heat the pan slowly or fast, once it reach "screaming" level - it screams, right? And I translate the word "screaming" to something very, very hot. And All-Clad is not supposed to be used "screaming hot" (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=197736826964673&set=o.142928332403306&type=3&theater).
I'm not trying to prove anything. I just want to understand. Can I use medium-high heat to sear something (not talking about forgetting pan on the stove) or, according to All-Clad support "low to medium heat". If everybody say All-Clad is the best then it is. And I want to enjoy my AC cookware. Low heat or high heat.
I think you need to experiment If you keep it on medium high heat for several minutes you should get the right heat. Phatch is right in that for high high heat sear you best bet is a carbon (which I use) or cast iron. I prefer carbon because it is not as heavy.
As for damaging your pans I have al clad and they are pretty tough I don't think you are going to hut them. I would not use them for techniques that require super hot heat such as "blackening" foods. That is what your cast iron is for.
Hope that helps.