walls.corpus

By Nathan L. Walls

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Articles tagged “cooking”

Buy yourself a cast iron skillet

New Year’s Day breakfast was scrambled eggs cooked in a 12-inch cast iron skillet, along with some whole wheat toast. I preheat the skillet over medium-high heat on our electric range, then drop the temperature to medium as I pour the eggs in. Fluffy scrambled eggs take about 90 seconds from there, folding the eggs two or three times.

A $40 12-inch Lodge skillet will last me the rest of my life. It is heavy and heats evenly.

Cooking with cast iron is a consistently better experience than I remember using non-stick skillets. Well-seasoned cast iron with some butter or oil is enough. Along the way, I monitoring as I cook. Unless I’m intentionally searing a steak, that little bit of butter or oil on top of the skillet’s seasoning is enough to keep the skillet pretty clean and food easy to release.

Cast iron seems less convenient because you generally don’t want to dry cook in them, but I’ve not found that to be true in practice. I see TV advertisements for non-stick pans being able to cook eggs without butter or oil. Friends, I’ve never had non-stick skillets work that well. Additionally, the non-stick coatings will scratch and eventually wear down. I was using either wood or high temperature-tolerant nylon spatulas to avoid scratching the coating on non-stick skillets. By contrast, cast iron is completely happy with more durable metal spatulas.

Another perceived limitation of cast iron is having to hand wash them. This is true, cast iron cannot be run through the dishwasher. I was still washing my non-stick cookware by hand, though. I cleaning my cast iron skillet while they’re still warm after cooking with hot water and adding a very small drop of dish soap placed on a chainmail scrubber. In the absence of that kind of scrubber, I’ve used both coffee grounds and salt to scour skillets.

Once the skillet’s clean and dry, put a penny-size drop of oil into the pan, wipe it around for an even coating with a paper towel to keep the seasoning fresh, then put the skillet away. You’re done.

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