A cast-iron skillet can be one of the most useful tools in your Lynden kitchen. If this is your first time using a cast iron pan, you might have a lot of questions about how to cook with and care for your pan. While there are a few things you definitely should know before you cook with cast iron for the first time, after following these basic tips, you will feel comfortable working with this pan for your culinary masterpieces.
The first thing to know about cast iron is that there is a wide range of skillet types and sizes. You should pick the right size cast iron pan for the dish you are going to make. Most professional chefs recommend a 10-inch skillet for everyday use. However, you should know that some cast iron pans can weigh up to 25 pounds! Unless you are cooking large quantities on a regular basis, the 10-inch pan would do.
Manufacturers strongly suggest that you “season” your cast iron pan before the first use. When cast iron has a hard, nonstick surface, it tends to work better. You can create this surface using oil and your oven. To season a cast iron pan, all you need to do is rub a light coat of vegetable oil over both the inside and outside of your pan. Then, place the pan upside-down in a 500-degree oven for about an hour. What’s good about using cast iron is that this seasoning process occurs naturally every time you cook chicken or steak in it. Your pan’s surface gets a new coating from the fat of the meat cooked in it, making your pan work even better.
After you have prepared your cast iron, you can start cooking. As you are planning each dish, you should remember that there are some foods you shouldn’t make in a cast iron pan. Cast iron pans and scrambled eggs do not make for a good day in the kitchen. The eggs tend to bond with the iron and make it hard to clean. If you do not want a metallic flavor in your dish, steer clear of cooking tomato sauce in this pan as tomato’s natural acidity reacts with the pan’s material. Lastly, don’t cook salmon or any oily fish in a cast iron pan. The oils will bond with the pan’s surface and make everything you cook in the pan after that taste fishy. Cinnamon rolls are one of the most popular dishes people love to make in a cast iron pan. However, if you try to make it in the pan after cooking fish in it, you would have salmon-flavored rolls. I don’t think you would like salmon-flavored bread.
To make sure that all goes well at your first attempt at cooking with cast iron, you should remember these tips. First, pre-heat your pan before you cook anything. Beginners often forget to heat the pan before putting any food in it, resulting in, at best, longer cooking times, and at worst, burnt or inedible food. Should you end up burning something in a cast iron pan, you must not soak it in water to remove it. Alternatively, you can use a salt scrub to clean your cast iron pan. Most cooks scrub their cast iron pan with salt and half a potato to clean it. Then simply wipe it with a little dish soap and water. Avoid using too much soap or soaking the pan in water, as this will damage the pan’s coating.
It’s as simple as that! With these tips, you’ll soon be a cast-iron expert. Would you like to learn more about how to care for and maintain other items in your house properly? Call us at 206-861-5525 or contact us online today!
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