I love cooking in a cast iron skillet. At the moment I don’t own one, but really, really want to add both a 6 1/2″ and 12″ skillet to my cookware collection. Not only is cast iron a great cooking surface, you also have the added benefit of iron leaching into what you’ve cooked. The most quoted study is the Journal of American Dietetic Association, stating that cooking in cast iron adds significant amounts of healthy iron to foods while cooking. This is great for someone like me who is always borderline anemic when tested.
When well-seasoned, cast iron has a great non-stick surface. It heats evenly and cooks evenly. It also goes from cooktop to oven, making it great for things like corn bread or German pancakes. Cleanup is a breeze and there is just something about its heft that appeals to me.
Seasoning is a breeze. For new pans, coat pan in oil, wipe out excess and heat in a warm oven for 1 hour. You may want to do this a couple of times before using. After cooking, wipe clean with a paper towel then, if necessary, wash with warm water and with very, very little soap. Dry and then wipe surface with a paper towel soaked with oil to lightly season again. Never soak in water, never scrub and never leave food in a cast iron pan. If you do have to scrub burnt food from its surface, you’ll probably have to season in the oven again. Chef Alton Brown recommends cleaning with coarse salt and a paper towel.
So those are the basics. I’m off to find my pans. Until then….