So you’ve just decided to take a culinary leap and invest in a cast iron skillet (or even a set!) and your mind is probably flooded with ideas. Should I start with some fried chicken, get to learning how to cook the perfect medium rare steak, or perfect that Bibimbap recipe I saw online?
Honestly, the world is your oyster, but it’s a good idea to get to know your cast iron skillet before you head into too deep of water.
You likely have a ton of questions like how to clean a cast iron skillet. What can I cook in a cast iron skillet? What should you not cook in cast iron? What is a cast iron skillet best for? These are all great questions and will help pave the way for a fruitful and lengthy relationship with your new purchase.
What is a Cast Iron Skillet?
Cast iron cookware is heavy duty (and obviously characterized by being made of cast iron). Cast iron skillets are valued for their heat retention abilities, not to mention the fact that cast iron skillets can be used at extremely high temperatures. When a cast iron skillet is properly seasoned, there is no need to worry about sticking.
Many people use cast iron skillets for pan-frying, sautéing, searing a variety of meats, baking, broiling, roasting, braising, and more.
Before you get to using your cast iron skillet, make sure to season it correctly. First, clean your skillet with hot soapy water. Make sure to dry it thoroughly, then use oil or shortening to coat the skillet.
Next, put your skillet upside down on top of the middle rack of the oven and set it to 375°. Make sure to place a foil trap at the bottom of the oven to catch any drippings. Then bake the pan for 45 minutes to an hour. Let it cool in the oven after you turn it off and voila!
How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet
Do I really need to clean my cast iron skillet after every use?
Not necessarily. Sure, you’re going to want to clean and season your skillet from time to time to ensure cleanliness and to preserve culinary quality, but you won’t have to clean it after each and every use. You can purchase specific tools that will help you solve the how to clean a cast iron skillet debacle. Make sure you always dry off your skillet and re-season it after each cleaning.
Cooking with Your New Cast Iron Skillet
One great thing about cast iron skillets is that you can sear a fantastic steak with one then simply set it in the oven for a few minutes (depending on the thickness of the cut). Whether you like your steak well done or rare as can be, you’ll be able to prepare the perfect steak now.
Whether rare meat is your jam or you’re fantasizing about corn bread, Dutch baby pies, or ultimate fried eggs, your cast iron skillet will open up new doors for you — if used and cared for properly. Although you don’t necessarily need to clean your cast iron skillet every time you use it, it’s recommended that you take care of your skillet so your skillet can take care of you.