Cooking in a cast iron skillet has become second nature to me; in fact if I could only take a few kitchen items with me on an extended stay my skillet would mandatorily be on that list. In trying to pass this love or skill along to friends and loved ones I have been told that it would be helpful to do a post with a few specific steps. My dear friend, Gretchen helped me out. She has had her cast iron skillet for about a year but not used it much due to intimidation, but after our short lesson together in her kitchen she’s reported a number of positive experiences, in fact I think she may end up becoming a coming a member of the cast iron fan club as well.
I do think it’s important to begin with the proper kind of skillet- choose one that has been pre-seasoned. They are easy to acquire, not expensive and are a workhorse in the kitchen. My favorite brand is Lodge. I nice size to have is a 10 inch, it isn’t too heavy but can still hold quite a bit of food.
· Always start with a hot skillet, using hot pads of course to keep your hands safe. To see if your skillet is hot drop a few droplets of water onto your skillet. If they sizzle, it’s ready to use.
· Use some kind of fat (canola oil, olive oil, butter, etc.)in the pan before you cook anything else. There are some exceptions to this rule; one being toasting nuts or seeds. You can use a dry, hot skillet without any oil because of the high fat content in the nuts. Otherwise, always begin with some kind of fat in the pan.
· Cleaning your skillet in a timely manner is important. Taking the time right after you are done cooking and while the skillet is still warm is a great time to clean it. Using warm water and a brush, gently brush any crusted food particles that are on the pan. Rinse. Dry with paper towels. Put a drop or two of CANOLA oil in pan and rub in and let pan completely dry out before putting away.
· Cleaning with soap may be necessary if you have a particularly nasty, stuck on piece of food. I try very hard not to use soap, but at times it is necessary to use ONE DROP of liquid dish soap. Quickly scrub with your brush and it should come right out.
click here to enlarge
There is a reason that these pans have been around for generations. If you have not used cast iron before because of lack of knowledge or fear that it may be too daunting I hope this may give you some aid wanting to pull out that pan and give it a go. Everything will cook quicker, have a lovely crisp edge to it and the clean up is a wiz.