Cast iron may get a bad reputation for being difficult to work with, but we have a genuine love for this underrated, classic piece of cookware that we believe all home chefs should own. Cast iron pans are nearly indestructible, so don’t let them scare you; trust us, there’s a cure for even the rustiest pans you may have inherited over the years.
Cast iron cookware is your best bet for creating the perfect sear on a piece of meat or a crisp crust on a skillet baked cornbread. Most pans today come “preseasoned,” and it is vital to maintain that ritual of seasoning your pan after each wash. With the right care, your cast iron pan has the ability to be just as “non-stick” as Teflon coated pans, and can last 100 years or more as opposed to non-stick coated pans.
We’ve broken down the basics you need to know in order to maintain your cast iron pan’s greatness.
- Always hand wash cast iron cookware with non-abrasive brush or sponge and dry immediately after washing. Take note, you’ll never want to use a metal scouring pad (no matter how stuck on your food may be) as it damages the layers of seasoning that have built up and will expose the metal base of your pan.
- Soap is a personal preference. If you choose to use soap, make sure it’s a mild detergent and that you are diligent with drying and re-seasoning your pan after use.
- Season your pan with the cooking oil of your choice (vegetable oil works well as a neutral oil) to keep your pan protected from any moisture.
- Avoid simmering acidic foods (like a tomato sauce) for extended periods of time in cast iron pans until you’ve used the pan for quite some time and have acquired a well-seasoned pan. Acid will damage the seasoning coating. It’s also not a good idea to deglaze a cast iron pan with vinegar or wine for that same reason.
Cast iron pans work on any stove type (use care with glass or ceramic cooktops so as not to scratch them), in an oven, on the grill or over an open fire which lends to endless cooking possibilities. They rarely require a heat setting higher than medium when in use, when they are properly pre-heated. A bit of patience is required to heat them completely, but they have the ability to get very hot and stay hot, unlike a thinner pan. This is what create the beautiful sea on a steak or roast, a crisp crust for pan pizza or cornbread or perfectly golden roasted vegetables.
For the best stir fries, cast iron woks work wonderfully because of their ability to retain heat. The temperature of your pan won’t dip when veggies or meat are added to it, which allows you to work quickly to stir fry your meal.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy recipe to test out a cast iron pan, try our Maple Pumpkin Butter Baked Brie. Delicious served with crackers, French bread toasts or sliced apples. If you need a pan, we’ve got you covered there, too! We offer a 6 ½”, 10″ and 12″ skillet for whatever your cooking needs are.
Maple Pumpkin Butter Baked Brie
- 2 Tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ cup Stonewall Kitchen Maple Pumpkin Butter
- 1 Tablespoon brandy
- 1, 8-ounce wheel of Brie cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add oil to pepitas and toss to coat. Spread pepitas on a baking sheet and bake 10-13 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Combine the Maple Pumpkin Butter and brandy.
- Remove the top rind of the Brie. Making sure you only cut through the skin of the Brie, run a knife around the top ¼-inch from the edge. Make several cuts across the Brie forming small triangles and then gently remove the skin forming a shallow cup to hold the Maple Pumpkin Butter. Spread the pumpkin mixture over the top of the cheese. Place the Brie into a small, cast iron skillet (or oven proof baking dish) and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is soft, but not melted. Remove from oven. Sprinkle pepitas over the top and serve with crackers, French bread toasts or sliced apples.