A cast-iron skillet can be one of the most useful tools in your Wallingford kitchen. If you are just beginning to work with cast iron pans, you may have some questions about how to cook with and care for your pan. While there are a few things you definitely should know before you cook with cast iron for the first time, following these simple tips will give you the confidence to reach for this pan each time you are ready to prepare your next culinary masterpiece.
The first thing to know about cast iron is that there is a wide range of skillet types and sizes. It is important that you use the right size cast iron pan for the dish you want to make. Most professional chefs recommend a 10-inch skillet for everyday use. Some cast-iron pans, though, can weigh up to 25 pounds! Unless you are cooking large quantities regularly, the 10-inch pan would do.
Before you use your cast iron pan, make sure you “season” it first as manufacturers recommend. When cast iron has a hard, nonstick surface, it tends to work better. You can create this surface using oil and your oven. To season a cast iron pan, all you need to do is rub a light coat of vegetable oil over both the inside and outside of your pan. Then, place the pan upside-down in a 500-degree oven for about an hour. What’s great with cast iron cooking is that this seasoning process happens naturally every time you cook chicken or steak in it. Your pan’s surface gets a new coating from the fat of the meat cooked in it, making your pan work even better.
When you have prepared your cast iron, you can begin cooking. As you are planning each dish, you should remember that there are some foods you shouldn’t make in a cast iron pan. Cast iron pans and scrambled eggs do not make for a good day in the kitchen. The eggs tend to bond with the iron and make it hard to clean. The natural acidity of tomatoes reacting with the pan will give your food a metallic flavor. This also happens with tomato sauce. Avoid using the cast iron pan for cooking salmon or other oily fish. The oils will bond with the pan’s surface and make everything you cook in the pan after that taste fishy. A dish people usually make in a cast iron pan is cinnamon rolls. But if you make the rolls in a pan after cooking fish in it, the rolls will taste like salmon. I don’t think you would like salmon-flavored bread.
To ensure that your first attempt at cooking with cast iron is a success, here are more important tips to remember. First of all, make sure you pre-heat the pan before you even start cooking. Most beginners often forget to preheat the pan before putting the food in it, resulting in longer cooking times and burnt or inedible food. If ever you end up burning something in a cast iron pan, do not soak the pan in water to remove it. A salt scrub is the best way to clean your cast iron pan instead. Some cooks use a salt scrub and half a potato to clean their cast iron pan. Afterward, wipe it with a little dish soap and water. Avoid using too much soap or soaking the pan in water, as this will damage the pan’s coating.
It’s that easy! With these simple steps, you’ll soon become a cast-iron expert. Would you like to learn more about how to care for and maintain other items in your house properly? Call us at 203-821-7303 or contact us online today!
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