Cait and her fiancé iPhone Mike (iPM for short) will be on a whirlwind tour of St. John’s this week (they arrived late last night), so the Pie and I will be playing host and tour guide while they’re here.
To keep you entertained until they get out of our hair and I can give you your own personal tour of my city, I’m giving you eight days of gadgets that I cannot live without.
Today we have the cast iron skillet. Actually, we have two, having purchased one recently.
Non-stick frying pans are great and all, but they don’t brown things well and sometimes you just need that extra-crispiness.
Cast iron is also handy when moving from the stove-top to the oven, as we saw with the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.
The trick to frying in cast-iron is similar to that of a barbecue. Dab a little oil on the frying surface and let it heat up for a little while. Don’t put your food in the pan until the metal is nice and evenly hot. The instant contact of the food on the super-hot surface will help to seal in all the good stuff in your foot and will make a nice firm layer of cooked food that will help prevent your stuff from sticking to the pan.
Cast iron will, of course, rust if you don’t take good care of it. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet, however, will last you for decades.
You can initially season a new skillet by rubbing the entire cooking surface with olive oil, and then putting it on your stove top at medium-high heat until the oil starts to smoke, or by baking it in your oven for a little while at about 400°F. Leave the skillet to cool and wipe out excess oil before storing.
Never wash your skillet with soap. If the pan is not that dirty simply wipe it out with a soft cloth to maintain the oil coating. If there is a lot of stuff stuck to the pan, fill the skillet with boiling water and leave the excess oils and food to rise to the surface. You can give it a scrub with a plastic scrubby as well. Rinse well and place on your stovetop element to dry it quickly without rusting.
If you need to use soap to get out some really cruddy crud, make sure to re-season the pan before you put it away.
We store them with dish towels in between to prevent scratches.