When I first started at The Chopping Block, I noticed that all the chefs seemed to swear by cast iron. I had no idea what they were talking about, and was rather intimidated by the heavy set cookware I had no idea how to use or care for. To be honest, I avoided cooking with cast iron for a very long time. Recently, I took a cooking class and finally got the hands on experience and information I needed to understand why those darn chefs are always right around here!
Cast iron conducts heat beautifully and can go from stove top to oven with no problem. Think – getting that gorgeous steakhouse sear on your filet and then finishing the delectable meat in the oven. Overtime, the cast iron will absorb some of the flavors and pass them along each time you use the pan. That’s why a steakhouse steak tastes so good – they’ve been developing flavors time and time again which seasons the steak each time adding more and more flavor.
A cast iron pan is also one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you can own. I recently bought a 12’’ cast iron skillet as a house warming gift for a friend who has a gorgeous kitchen and nothing to go in it! To showcase why I chose this gift, I cooked delicious thyme and garlic roasted chicken breasts with glazed root vegetables for dinner. The only pan I used to create the entire dish was the skillet – no other pots or pans were necessary. Days later, I created a bacon, cheddar, and hash brown frittata in the same pan. My next venture will be deep dish pizza with buttery garlic bread. My goal was to show him that you don’t need a 12 piece cookware set. Instead, pick 3-5 pieces that are versatile and will withstand the test of time in any kitchen.
To treat and care for your cast iron it is important to keep it away from metal scrubbers and harsh detergents. After all, you don’t want to scrub off the lovely seasoning you’ve developed over time. When you’re done cooking in the pan, simply rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. While the pan is still warm, apply a light coating of cooking spray or vegetable oil. Store the cast iron in a cool, dry place. That’s it! Stop by The Chopping Block this January to find the right cast iron for your needs and receive 20% off all cookware.
What’s your favorite dish to make in cast iron? Share your thoughts here.