What to Cook (and What Not to) in a Cast Iron

If we could, we’d shout it from the mountain tops: We love cooking with cast iron. They’re durable, efficient, endlessly useful, and make a pretty photo to boot. And yet, for so many, cast iron pans remain tucked away in the furthest cabinet, shrouded in mystery.

What to Cook in Your Cast Iron

The benefit of using a cast iron pan is that it gets screaming hot and stays hot. Unlike thinner pans, like aluminum, the heat level doesn’t fluctuate in a cast iron. This makes the cast iron an ideal choice for foods that need high heat. Meats that need a hard sear but shouldn’t be scorched, like steak, or roasts that should be browned before braising, perform beautifully in a cast iron. The surface of the meat takes on a deep brown color and crust without accumulating burnt, black bits at the bottom of the pan. To get the most out of your cast iron-meat searing experience, preheat the pan over the flame so it has time to absorb the heat. As an added bonus, the cast iron is oven-safe, so you can take it from the stovetop directly into the oven.

Stir-fries are another great cast iron option because the pan’s ability to hold heat is similar to that of a wok. A proper stir-fry cooks up in minutes, crisping the rice and/or meat, while allowing the vegetables to retain some crunch. To achieve this, you need a pan that won’t experience a temperature drop as soon as you add food to it. That’s where cast iron really shines.

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And What Not to Cook

Bolognese: Not the best choice for cast iron.

Delicate pieces of fish are not the best option for a heavy-duty cast iron, especially one that hasn’t been carefully seasoned. If presentation matters, sautéing a tilapia fillet in your cast iron might leave you disappointed: The fish has a high potential for cleaving apart and flaking into pieces when lifted with a spatula. Intent on using the cast iron? Perry suggests choosing thicker, meatier pieces of fish, and cooking them skin-side down. They’ll stand up to the heat far better.

 


Post time: Mar-30-2022