Basics: The Cast Iron Pan Cook like a man
Welcome back to our basics series. Now imagine yourself out in the wilderness. Your motorcycle lays just feet from where you’ve set up camp. The only light comes from the glow of your fire and the ceiling of night stars above you. Your stomach growls, it’s time for dinner. You reach for something to cook that thick, juicy steak with. Out comes the cast iron pan. Flames lick the metal as you throw your steak onto the pan. The cheering of sizzling meat echoes through the wild. You revel in another successful meal in your trusty cast iron pan.
Okay, okay, that story might be nothing more than a fantasy but the point is that you need a cast iron pan. Why? Let me explain.
There is no other item in your kitchen as versatile as the cast iron pan. Throw it on the stove, in the oven, on your backyard grill or yes, even on a fire. Unlike your mother’s trusty non-stick skillet, the cast iron is meant for everyday cooking. It’s nearly indestructible, easy to clean and cook as hell. For men(and women) looking to upgrade their cooking game without watching endless reruns of the Food Network, this is the way to do it.
The cast iron pan can be dated all the way back to ancient China. As trade opened up along the Silk Road, the cast iron pan made its way through Europe. Soon the cast iron became a tool used everywhere. Here in America, our imagery of the cast iron pan comes from the trailblazers making their way out west. Thanks to a love of everything not from this decade, the cast iron has come back. Follow the trend of famous chefs everywhere and learn why the cast iron is one of the best things on the planet to cook with.
How to Use
Cast iron pans are minimalist cookware at its best. They’re non-stick and sturdy. Simply heat, splash some good quality olive oil in the pan and cook your heart out. Trust us, meats taste way better on a cast iron than whatever celebrity endorsed pan you’re currently cooking on. Better yet, flavors work themselves into the pan, seasoning your pan after each use.
How to Clean
If for some reason you’re still not sold, the cast iron is super easy to clean. Just take a wet rag and wipe away whatever grime is left over after cooking. Any harsher washing will scuff the pan and take away that all-important seasoning. So you can skip that battle with the mound of dishes that usually taunt yours after cooking.
What to Cook
Ripping hot cast iron pans usually scream, for one thing, meat. High, even heat and the ghosts of meals pasts all work to season and lock in the flavors of whatever you’re cooking. If you’re trying to go for that restaurant quality crust on your steaks, then the cast iron is really the only way to go. Chicken, Pork and pretty much any type of meat is going to cook up great. However, you need to avoid cooking fish of this. Fish needs to be cooked slowly and with gentle heat. I guess your mom’s non-stick pan does have a use after all.
Not a meat eater? Or maybe you’re trying to get more veggies into your diet. Don’t fret, the cast iron is here to help. Just like with meat, the cast iron pan imparts char and smokey flavor into whatever your cooking. This makes that side of broccoli far more appealing.
Here’s a list of some great recipes
While owning a cast iron hasn’t turned me into a motorcycling adventurer(yet), it has dramatically improved my willingness to cook as well as my cooking itself.
Let us know what recipes you love to make and what kitchen tools you need to make it possible!