Why I love Cast Iron
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that a big Lodge cast iron skillet is probably my favorite kitchen tool. Our cast iron goes from the cooktop to the oven, and even the occasional outdoor grill or fire. I use it to make frittata, roast chicken, sweet potato hash, chicken piccata… you name it.
Cast iron is surprisingly economical, durable, and – most importantly – doesn’t leach nasty chemicals into food. To achieve even heat distribution, preheat it on the cooktop for about 10 minutes before you start cooking. Keeping it seasoned is the trick, as a well seasoned skillet contributes to the natural, easy-release properties… in other words, I can fry an egg on mine, no problem. So guess what? I’m not a fan of Teflon!
Tips on Caring for Your Cast Iron
- First step: season and re-season. I like to use coconut oil for this (which, by the way, has antibacterial properties). Just rub coconut oil all over the surface, inside and out. Place cookware upside down on the top rack, with a baking sheet or foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips. Bake in a 375 F oven for 90 minutes or so.
- Hand wash. Soap isn’t usually necessary. But if you can’t handle that, it’s ok to use a mild soap with a nonabrasive sponge. If done correctly, the seasoning should be polymerized and actually bonded to the metal – meaning that the surfactant quality of soap shouldn’t ruin your hard work.
- Dry immediately. You can even rub it with a tiny bit of coconut oil before putting it away.
- Don’t let it soak. Ever.
- No metal scouring pads or strong detergents, which can remove the seasoning.
It’s really low maintenance. And if you treat it well, it may be in your family for generations.
What’s your favorite cast iron pan? I finally ordered the grill pan, and I love it for grilling veggies like eggplant and zucchini.