Weekend Spotlight: Cast Iron Skillet

In a world full of high-tech tools and gadgets, it’s refreshing to get back to the simple life every now and then. Cast iron cookware has been used for centuries and is still a favorite of many chefs. As the name implies, this type of cookware is made from one piece of iron, which allows for an even distribution of heat. These durable cooking vessels were traditionally hung over open fires and are revered for their ability to retain heat. Cast iron cookware also adds a healthy amount of iron into your food during the cooking process.

These multipurpose pans can be transferred from stovetop to oven, reducing the need for multiple, messy steps in recipes that call for both searing and roasting. Many chefs recommend starting your collection with a cast iron skillet. Skillets are great for baking, frying, and searing. Because they are such a great conductor of heat, you can use a skillet to cook items that typically call for grilling.

Cast iron cookware is unique. Most new skillets come “bare” and need to be seasoned.  Seasoning, which is created by coating the cooking surface with animal fat or vegetable oil, protects the pan from rust and creates a natural nonstick surface. Cookware should be re-seasoned every year.

When cleaning your seasoned skillet, avoid traditional cleaning methods because they will remove the seasoning. Simply wipe the pan after each use, scrub it with salt and a rag, or if necessary wash it with mild soap and water then reapply a thin coat of oil or fat. If you choose an enamel-coated skillet, it does not need to be seasoned but it has some drawbacks. Enamel-coated skillets don’t have some of the benefits of bare cast iron like withstanding high temperatures and leaching iron. They also tend to cost more and aren’t as durable.

Shopping for a cast iron skillet is easy. Because cast iron is so durable, it lasts generations. You can buy new or used and they are always affordable. So bring yourself back to a simpler time and make a classic down-home-style dish in your new cast iron skillet.

Comments are closed.