Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brent - Man of Iron...errr...Cast Iron, that is

Let the truth be told, I admit I love cookware. I have a number of pieces of different brands, All-Clad, Calphalon, and Mauviel, but my all time favorite-gotta-have-go-to is a cheap (as in free) decades old cast iron skillet. A father's father's camping skillet was its primary use. I intended on carrying on the tradition. It was given to me (did I mention free) at a family garage sale in a neglected, rusty state.

I scoured the skillet with steel wood down to shiny metal and began the long drawn-out, but caring process of seasoning the skillet. I slathered canola oil in the thin sheen on the inside and outside of the pan and placed it in a 300 degree oven for several hours, removed and cooled it. Then repeated the process, then repeated the process, then repeated the process. Over time it developed a coating slicker than my finest non-stick skillet. I quickly rescued it from the camping supplies and elevated it to everyday kitchen usage.

I now find myself relying on it more than any other skillet in my kitchen. I use it for anything I need to sear on the stove and finish in the oven such as steak, fish or chicken. I use it to fry CFS or fried chicken or French fries. Oven roasting veggies or potatoes are as easy as scrambling eggs. I've even used it to poach eggs. And there's no better piece of equipment for baking cornbread.

Clean-up is a breeze, but no soap or scouring please. On the rare occasion that sticking occurs, I simply use a tablespoon for kosher and a paper towel to rub the residual foodstuff off. Then rinse with warm water, dry, lightly coat with canola and park it in the still warm oven until it's next needed.

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