Cooking with cast iron

Cast iron is a great frying pan even without the non stick seasoning … it’s just not as cool that way.

… And I love my 18/10 stainless cookware and the pretty copper strip around the bottoms – but untarnishing copper became a battle of endurance that I eventually lost. That said, cooking is a lot more pleasant with a good set of cookware: it’s all about the tools, but you have to have the right one for the job.

The one thing that has challenged me with my stainless cookware though – is browning things like scallops. By the time I get a good crust on them, the darn things are overcooked.

Enter the cast iron pan – problem immediately solved. Searing steak can also be a chore using some frying pans — but it’s a cinch with cast iron. OK, cast iron is heavy, it’s not streamlined like an All-clad or Caphalon pan — and people think it’s a chore to take care of.

It’s not.

Caring for cast iron has just two steps:

  1. Don’t let it rust
  2. Wipe it with a paper towel and a little vegetable oil after cleaning – then set it on a warm burner afterward.

Did I mention don’t let it rust? The light coat of oil protects the pan from rusting and also gives it the non stick finish.

Cast iron is easy to clean – use a dish brush after rinsing the soap out of it (but an occasional dab of soap won’t ruin your pan, it’s just hard on that built up no stick finish).

What I like best about cast iron – other than it’s cheaper than a lot of other other pans: it has a good heft to it – and it’s versatile and nearly destructible. It cooks equally well over high or low heat and it can double as a baking or broiling pan, I can use it in my grill or set it on the stove for eggs and bacon.

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