Technique

Pan for All Seasons

Rediscover cooking in a cast iron skillet
Pan for All Seasons

Not so long ago, almost every cook in America kept a cast iron skillet on the stove. “It wasn’t until after World War II that other metals began to be used for cookware,” says Mark Kelly, marketing and promotions manager at Lodge Cast Iron in South Pittsburg, Tenn., America’s sole remaining manufacturer of cast iron cookware. Aluminum and stainless steel pots and pans were lighter, and the advent of nonstick coating (ostensibly) made them easier to clean. The end result: the cast iron skillet moved from the top of the stove to the bottom of a cabinet—if a cook owned one at all.

There are lots of reasons to turn back the culinary clock. As Kelly says, “You can perform every kind of cooking style in a cast iron skillet—sauté, sear, braise, deepfry, bake—plus the pan provides consistent heat at high and low temperatures.” A cast iron skillet is not only nonstick, it’s “virtually indestructible and the only cookware you can use on the stove, in the oven, on the grill, and back again,” says Kelly. Check out these recipes to see what we mean.

February 2009 p.36

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Pineapple Upside-Down Spice Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Spice Cake

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This moist spice cake is a great alternative to the butter-laden upside-down cakes of yesteryear.

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Deep-Dish Skillet Pizza

Deep-Dish Skillet Pizza

Try this homemade pizza technique with your favorite toppings as well.

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Two-Potato Pancakes

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Russet potatoes contribute the essential starchy texture to hold these fritters together, and sweet potatoes add flavor and color.

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North Indian Spiced Cabbage, Fennel, and Onions

Fennel bulb and fennel seed are both used here to give this warming side dish a subtle anise flavor and tame the pungency of the cabbage.

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comments

My cast iron skillets are my 'go to' pans of choice, and I love my home made pizzas from them. Wouldn't dream of using anything else now.

Rustic Pumpkin - 2013-09-27 15:05:55

Another benefit to cast iron pans and pots is they add iron to your food, supplementing your intake of this important mineral. I have a cast iron dutch oven that was one of my mom's first pots, it's wonderful to cook in!

CP - 2012-11-28 01:33:06

I've been a fan of cast iron for years and always joked that I have so much cast iron cookware that my cabinet looks like a display shelf at a camping store. The one thing many do not realize is that you do not need high heat to cook on the stove. When I cook eggs, the knob on the stove never goes higher than medium/low and sometimes that is almost too much. Cast iron retains its heat very well (which is great keeping food warm at the table out of the oven) which is why you don't want to use high heat. You also want to be careful boiling water or cooking foods with alot of liquids or high acid foods, such as tomatoes. It can strip away the 'patina' that makes it nonstick, then you would have to go through the process of seasoning it all over again. Thanks for the article.

will s - 2010-08-11 15:54:47