Good seasoning is at the core of every great dish. Did you know that there are certain kitchen tools that can actually help with this? For the longest time, I didn't know either. I'm talking specifically about cast iron skillets. They're amazing. Read more here!
The tried and true cast iron skillet. Whether it’s been past down over the years from your grandma or it’s been recently delivered to your doorstep by Crate & Barrel, the cast iron skillet is an essential tool for your kitchen
The cast iron skillet, as most of us know, is extremely versatile. It can do things other pots and pans can’t. I want to help you understand what exactly cast iron skillets are, how they differ from other pots and pans, and why you need to buy one (or three) immediately.
As far as your kitchen-specific Newlyweds Toolkit goes, this is a must.
Let’s start with what these things are.
There’s not a whole lot that can be said here that’s not already said by the name. Cast iron skillets are, surprise surprise, skillets made wholly from cast iron. Everything from the handle, to the bottom of the skillet itself.
This does mean that if you wish to buy one of these, grips for the handle are highly recommended because the handle will reach extremely high temperatures. You can also use quality oven mitts as well.
One of the most important reasons why these cast iron skillets are designed this way and made entirely out of cast iron is to promote a more thoroughly seasoned cooking experience.
Have you ever cooked on a barbecue before? Part of what makes cooking on a barbecue so amazing—among many other things—is that most grill racks are made of cast iron. This means that over the course of time, from frequent use of the barbecue, the cast iron grills will begin to “house” seasoning from previous meals.
This doesn’t mean that your meal will necessarily taste just like the last one you cooked. But it does mean that the seasoning gets baked into the cast iron, so to speak. This gives the new meal additional flavor that springs naturally from the cooking utensil.
Be sure to pick your seasonings wisely.
Many people want to know not just whether they should buy a cast iron skillet, but what the big differences are between cast iron skillets and other pots and pans.
Pictured above are some Rachel Ray pots and pans. They’re amazing. I’ll write about these in the future. But the main difference between these and cast iron skillets comes down to what they’re made of.
Because most pots and pans are not made of cast iron and usually have a non-stick component to them, they are much less likely to hold onto seasoning. That’s totally okay if you’re using these for eggs, pastas, sauces, etc.
But if you’re planning to do a lot of skillet-seared veggies and meats, I highly recommend the cast iron skillet. The way it houses the seasoning and flavors from past dishes over the course of time adds up to incredible flavors for future dishes.
There is a way to season cast iron skillets if you get them new, but we’ll let this video do the talking on that.
One other big difference between cast iron skillets and pots and pans, as you’ll notice from the photo, is that most pots and pans have a rubber or silicone grip which prevents you from being able to throw them in the over to finish off the cooking process for a certain dish.
Not the case with cast-iron skillets, provided you take the rubber grip off if you have one.
Most of the answers to this question have already been given above. What I want to emphasize is the “immediately” part.
I think the reasons for buying a cast iron skillet are compelling: better seasoning, which leads to more flavor, which leads to better tasting food. Also, the high-heat capacity of these skillets makes them really versatile. Recap complete.
Why you should get a cast iron skillet immediately? Because the seasoning process can take a while. Part of it comes quick as the video above shows you. But the real benefits of the cast iron skillet’s seasoning come over the course of time. Using a cast iron skillet that’s been in use for a couple years is magical.
Now why do I say “one (or three)”? Well, I’ll admit, one is definitely sufficient. But some retailers sell packs of cast iron skillets in different sizes. Have you been to a restaurant and received a sweet little miniature cast iron skillet with Brussels sprouts before?
I always love that. It’s also nice to have one on the stove cooking the meat while the other is in the oven taking care of the vegetables. Being able to serve Brussels sprouts, in Cast Iron Skillet fashion, to your spouse or guests? They’ll be impressed.
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