Pros: Lasts a lifetime, even heating, excellent searing, inexpensive, easy clean up, magnetic
Cons: Heavy, requires some periodic maintenance, not suited for dishwasher
Those who know me know that I love to cook. My everyday preference is Tramontina Tri Ply Clad Stainless Steel Cookware. For everyday cooking it’s hard to argue the virtues of clad SS cookware.
But there are times that recipes call for non-stick cookware or times where you need to heat a pan over very high heat to achieve a really good sear. These are the times I reach for my Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet.
The Non-Stick Issue
I don’t know about you but I tire of reading varying points of view about which coatings are safe to use, and at what temperatures and will it kill my bird. The truth is I’m not a fan of coated cookware of any type. Over time the coatings wear, chip and find their way into my recipes. Sorry, just not for me. Seasoned cast iron cookware is inherently non-stick, so what other that its weight is there to think about?
Lodge Cast Iron Cookware Lodge has been making high quality cast iron cookware in this country for over a hundred years. One of my skillets is easily 60 years old and shows every indication of going another 60 years. If only I showed these same indications.
Getting off to The Right Start
Although Lodge and many other manufacturers pre-season their cookware, I recommend that any new piece of cookware be additionally seasoned before being put to use. Seasoning is very easily accomplished by rubbing the entire pan inside and out with a light coat of vegetable oil and allowing the pan to cook in the oven for about an hour. Let it cool down and wipe with a paper towel to remove any excess oil. If seasoned properly there should be little or no excess.
The key to successful non-stick cooking is to always start off with a pre-heated pan. I’ll swear that eggs cooked on cast iron are unequaled.
Cast iron heats evenly and can withstand extremely high temperatures. This makes them ideal for searing meats and fish. When used for steak, starting off with a screaming hot pan allows you to sear the steaks in a minute on each side. You’ll note the meat should move freely after a minute. The steak can then be transferred with the pan to the oven for 6 - 8 minutes for a rare to medium finish.
The 12” size pan is a perfect size to handle two NY Strip steaks or a couple of nicely sized salmon fillets or steaks.
Cast iron cookware however is not suited for cooking with highly acidic ingredients such as tomato products, and vinegars. The acid will remove the seasoning and in time will pit the surface. When cooking with these ingredients, and I still want the virtues of cast iron, I switch to my Le Creuset Porcelain Coated Cookware.
Remember that cast iron pans get very hot. Always use a pot-holder when cooking. This particular pan has a helper handle on the opposing end to aid in handling.
Clean Up & Maintenance
Washing cast iron is easy. Simply fill with warm water and use either a green plastic scrubby or brush. Rinse and dry thoroughly to avoid rust. That’s it. Soap is not recommended since it will require re-seasoning the pan.
Similarly, dishwasher cleaning is a no-no. With moderate use, I recommend re-seasoning your pan at least every other month.
Cast Iron can be used with any heat source. These days I’m cooking on glass ceramic electric. I’d prefer gas, but hey, this is South Florida and residential gas cooktops are rare.
Cast iron, being magnetic is experiencing a renaissance of demand with the increasing popularity of Electric Induction Cooktops that require magnetic cookware. When a magnetic Stainless Clad 12” Skillet can command a price of $200, it’s comforting to think the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet can still be purchased for $20 or less.
For safe, no-issue non-stick cooking at a very reasonable price, it’s hard not to love your Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet. I highly recommend it.
Now go cook something good tonight.