Cast iron skillets are treasured tools in kitchens around the world, and their incredible durability has made them prime heirloom pieces that can enrich family dinners for generations. From light fish and hearty meats to biscuits, cornbread, and even lasagna, a good cast iron pan has a multitude of uses. Check out these tips for making the most of your cast iron.
Invest in Quality
The cast iron pan you bring home can become a kitchen staple in your home for decades, so don’t just settle for any hunk of metal. Cast iron is often heavy, but weighty isn’t always better, so find something lightweight that you can handle easily. Inspect the cooking surface of the pan to make sure the area is smooth. This will help you avoid sticky situations.
How to Handle the Heat
Cooks love cast iron because of its incredible ability to hold in heat and sustain a high temperature, but retaining heat is not the same as conducting heat. It can take a heavy cast iron skillet a while to heat up properly, so don’t throw your ingredients into the pan as soon as you start the burner. Give the pan a few minutes to reach the right temperature and evenly distribute the heat across its surface.
If you add your food too early, it might stick or cook unevenly. Some dishes are best cooked at high heat, which helps you avoid food sticking to the pan. You can also avoid sticking by adding oil or butter first, while a layer of seasoning or flour applied to raw meat or fish can quickly cook into a crust. The metal’s characteristic heat tolerance also allows you to move the pan from the stovetop to the oven, or even cook over the open flame of a campfire.
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