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Crazy for Cast Iron

Today's Grommet is brought to us by Katie Workman of Cookstr.com, an ambitious new site dedicated to sharing great recipes from chefs and cookbook authors.  Enjoy Katie's post on using her favorite cast iron skillet (yes, the kind your grandmother used, but with a preseasoned twist). And of course, Katie has offered a few incredible recipes to use with your skillet. Bon appetit!

by Katie Workman of Cookstr.com

Cast iron pans are great. The only problem is seasoning them - you have to scrub them (and if it's an old pan, wow, it's hard to get them really clean), then rub them all over with some sort of fat, then bake them in the oven, and only then are you ready to go.

That's why I love the Lodge Preseasoned cast iron skillets. Lodge is the only domestic maker of cast iron pans, and they have been family owned and run since 1896, in South Pittsburgh Tennessee. They are the cast iron pan experts. Which is why they got really smart in 2002 and created a pan that gives cooks all of the benefits of cast irons, and none of the hassle. They developed a proprietary preseasoning system, so when you get the pan home, a rinse, a dry, and you're ready to go.

Peach Cobbler, image courtesy of Cookstr.com

Peach Cobbler, image courtesy of Cookstr.com

What's so great about cast iron, anyway? Lots. You can easily transfer food from stovetop to oven, no problem. It has incredible, even heat distribution, and maintains a very steady temperature. It sears and browns like nobody's business, and it has excellent natural non-stick properties (no teflon worries). And it will last forever. Now, that's a pan.

To clean the pan after use, rinse with hot water, and dry thoroughly. Don't use soap, and NEVER wash in dishwasher. Every once in a while, you can give it a wipe with a paper towel covered in oil, but the act of cooking of over time will keep your cast iron pan naturally seasoned.

And always use an oven mitt when removing pan from stovetop. Handles become very hot. A good tip is to leave a dishtowel or pot holder draped over the handle once you remove the pan from the oven to prevent yourself from absent-mindedly grabbing the handle with your bare hand. That's a lesson you don't want to learn the hard way!

Here are some recipes that I love to make in a cast iron skillet:

Cornbread by Suzanne Goin

This is the cornbread we made in the video. Tender, rich, and melting that las little bit of butter in the cast iron skillet before you pour the batter in creates the most unbelievable shortbread-like crust.


Tortilla Espanola
by Mario Batali
Tortilla española is essentially the national dish of Spain. It's like a frittata, and can be eaten hot, room temperature cold, any any time of the day.

Maryland Panfried Chicken by John Shields

Panfried chicken is one of the best, most crowd-pleasing dish ever. You brown the chicken in very hot oil, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to steam the chicken; this keeps the meat moist while producing a crisp coating. Serve this with buttery mashed potatoes, and something sauteed and green.


Classic Grilled Cheese
by Nancy Silverton
If you've never had a grilled cheese sandwich made in a cast iron skillet, you've yet to eat the best grilled cheese sandwich of your life.

Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese Burgers by Sally Sampson
The onions caramelize beautifully in the pan, and the burgers get a perfect sear.

Peach Cobbler by Christopher Idone
Cast iron and cobblers were meant for each other. And we're heading into the height of peach season, so take advantage!

Buy Lodge Cookware's seasoned cast iron 12" skillet here.

Click here to see what other unique gift ideas the Daily Grommet team has discovered.

Comments

  • Ben Hordell Says:

    The cobbler looks AMAZING, I'm off to the store for a new pan!

  • Joanie Says:

    Thanks for these recipes. Loved the video. I love cooking in cast iron pans and am always looking for new recipes for it. Just made my own cornbread last night. Not sure if you Grommet gals want another recipe for cornbread (using oil rather than butter in it). Here is a delicious (but dangerous) one:
    2 large eggs
    1/4 cup sugar
    2/3 cup canola oil
    1 1/4 c buttermilk
    3/4 c yellow cornmeal
    1 c unbleached white flour
    1/4 c whole wheat flour
    1 1/2 t baking powder
    1/2 t salt
    Set oven 325. Butter a 10" cast iron skillet.
    Beat eggs, sugar and oil with a whisk until thoroughly blended. Add the buttermilk and continue to whisk.
    Mix together all dry ingredients and add then to the egg mixture by stirring with a wooden spoon (why wooden? don't know.)
    Pour into skillet and bake 40 minutes. Remember to use an oven mitt when removing the skillet!! (Done that.)
    Serve warm. Manga!

  • Barbara Says:

    Ben, the Lodge preseasoned skillet we're featuring today is amazing. Just visit our feature today at https://www.thegrommet.com to check it out and make the purchase.

    Joanie, thanks for the additional recipe! Looks yummy!

  • Jannie Funster Says:

    Grommet is a very interesting name for a blog.

    And at my parents' house is a cast iron pan that's been there for at least 50 years, and I'm sure longer. It sure does cook things nice and fast. And still gives off iron to make our body healthier, I bet.

  • julespieri Says:

    Ben--take it easy. No need to jump in the car. Just go here and order one:
    https://www.thegrommet.com/products/190-Lodge-Cookware-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-12-Skillet

  • julespieri Says:

    Jannie... the name originates with our business. Take a look here to see a video of Katie showing the pan at work. It will give you a sense of how we do things at Daily Grommet: https://www.thegrommet.com/products/190-Lodge-Cookware-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-12-Skillet

    I remember seeing an old heirloom pan that had been stirred so many times there were two long thin tracks and holes in its sides!

  • Joanie Says:

    Believe it or not, my mom got rid of all my grandma's gorgeous old cast iron pans! My mom was into Teflon as the latest and greatest in convenience cooking. Now I'm reading so much about how the Teflon finish flakes off over time and is not healthy to cook with if its flaking.
    I'd love to get back my grandma's pans. But this one in the video looks really close.

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