A job done well requires the proper tools. Cooking is no different. While having Gordon Ramsay berate you may be the ultimate tool, a reliable pan is a close second. But not all pans are created equal. There’s the stylish, stainless steel pan, that serves as decoration and tool equally as well, and you have the cast iron pan, which is not as good looking but supremely utilitarian. The cast iron pan is proof that sometimes the old ways are best.The cast iron has been around for centuries and despite the advances in non-stick and stainless steel materials it remains the right tool for the job.
For any meal that requires searing, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better means than the cast iron pan. It retains its heat better than other pans making it perfect for cooking a chewy steak or crispy home fries. Dropping a nicely-seasoned steak onto a cast iron pan creates a satisfying hiss and a golden sear that gives the grill a run for its money.
Unlike other pans, a cast iron pan can weather temperatures over 1000° F, making it safe for the oven. Use this to your advantage to cook your food evenly. For example, use the pan to sear a steak, and then place it in the oven to finish. It’s also versatile; it can be used to bake a pie, quiche, deep-dish pizza or anything that can be cooked under the heat of the oven.
If the reasons above don’t convince you, a cast iron pan is a low-maintenance and economical option that can be used for nearly any meal. It will withstand day-to-day use, cracks, or scratches that can doom other pans. All that’s needed is to season it once a year.
SEASONING A CAST IRON PAN...
1) Coat the pan with a mild oil such as vegetable or canola oil.
2) Place the pan upside down on the middle tray of the oven and warm the pan at 350 °F for about an hour.
So long as you don’t throw it in the dishwasher, as my roommate did last month, it will last forever. And a prime example can be had for under forty dollars. So cook with confidence on your next date, knowing you have the right tool for the job.