The Mighty Cast Iron
During a recent spring cleaning of my kitchen cupboards I came across my old cast iron pan. I've been so caught up with acquiring and test driving the latest in pan inventions, somehow this had been pushed to the back shelf. Never again.
After I brought it back to life with a quick seasoning (click here to find out how), I made several meals with it this week. From an egg frittata to baked macaroni and cheese; a ribeye steak and even a batch of cornbread, I had forgotten how utterly dependable this old kitchen workhorse is. There’s a reason cast iron cookware has been around for centuries.
A cast iron pan is a great gift idea for someone who is setting up their kitchen for the first time or just getting into cooking. If you’re shopping for one, Lodge is my preferred brand and the price point won’t break the bank. There is no need to go high-end on this product.
What’s truly excellent about cast iron is that when it gets hot it stays hot. That means it creates the very best sear on a steak, ever. Way better then the barbecue and don’t even try to argue with me on that one. A common misconception of the cast iron though, is that it heats up evenly. It doesn’t. So when you’re heating yours either let it sit on the burner for several minutes, rotating it every once in awhile, or preferably, heat it up in the oven. And I love how a cast iron pan that heats above the surface, unlike an aluminum pan that’s only hot right on the surface. That allows you to create to-die-for potato hash and the best roast chicken you’ve ever had. (See recipe in the post below.)
Don’t be afraid to wash your pan with soapy water. (Just don’t let it sit in water.) Then after you dry it, season it again before putting it away. And remember, the best way to maintain a really good season on your pan is to use it a lot. You’ll know when you’ve got the perfectly seasoned pan when it becomes non-stick. (Not as non-stick as Teflon mind you, but still non-stick.)
Happy weekend cooking everyone!