Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cast-Iron Skillets

Last night, I started to read Martha Stewarts Cooking School; Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook. She says that her book is meant to be utilized as a college course & should help lay a strong foundation for one's culinary career. From the shear size of her book, one can see immediately that this is meant to be a culinary master class, and not for the faint of heart. I have decided to take on her challenge, and learn everything her 503 page book has to teach me. Right now, I am on page 5 and already have ran into a little bump. You see, her basic equipment page says that a real cook needs a cast-iron skillet. My family never owned a cast-iron skillet, and I think I am a real cook. So why does Martha categorize it as a culinary necessity? My knowledge on cast-iron is very limited, but hers is vast. I wanted to share with you what Martha (well, her book)shared with me!

Martha's Reason For Cast-Iron Skillet

- Iron retains heat and distributes it evenly, making cast-iron perfect for searing, baking and sauteing.
- When ready to purchase, look for a pan that is an eighth of an inch think. New pans are pretty raw and gray looking. They turn black once seasoned.
-One needs to season their pan before they use it! This will prevent rusting and will create a non-stick surface.
-Never clean cast-iron in a dishwasher. To clean, sprinkle with coarse salt, rub with paper towels and wipe clean. If you really want a deep clean, rinse in hot water and use a scrubber. Dry completely with a kitchen towel, and rub with a bit of vegetable oil before storing.
- Avoid cooking anything acidic, such as wine or tomato sauce. It can cause the patina to be worn off....and Martha says that is no good.

Seasoning a Cast-Iron Skillet

- Rub the skillet evenly (inside and out) with vegetable oil.
- Place the skillet in a 300 degree oven for one full hour.

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