This post is an ode to cast-iron…at last count, I have three cast-iron skillets, a cast-iron griddle, a cast-iron crepe pan and an enamelled cast-iron dutch oven. So I think I can count myself as a fan. My first cast-iron pan was a hand-me-down from my mother and I have just continued to add to the “collection” as time goes on.
Why do I love cast-iron?
- Gravitas: there is something about the weight & heft of pulling a cast-iron pan out that gives weight to cooking…I always feel that I am committing to some serious cooking when the cast-irons pans come out
- Ease: if you have a well-seasoned cast-iron pan, forget about non-stick (you will never go back). Not only that but it heats evenly and the weight means it balances well on any type of burner (forget the warping that happens with cheaper pans…they become a distant memory)
- Green: a cast-iron pan will last a lifetime – and beyond – and you don’t use soap to clean them… NEVER use soap…just a good scrub with a stiff kitchen brush and wipe them dry…then they are better than ever to go
- Health: a well-seasoned pan needs much less oil / butter (other than for flavour) and you don’t have to worry about potential harmful chemicals coming off the “non-stick” pan out there. Also, cooking acidic foods, like tomatoes, causes a reaction with the iron so you actually get increased iron in your meal
I also love that you can take a cast-iron pan from stove top to oven. One of my favourite weeknight recipes comes from my sister and I make it several times a month. Cook rice or quinoa (I use my rice cooker for both) while you are saute-ing vegetables in your pan. I use carrots, onions, garlic, zucchini, broccoli, red peppers (you get the idea..whatever is in the veggie drawer of the fridge). Mix them together. Sprinkle cheese on top (I love a combination of crumbled feta and shredded haloumi) and then grill under the broiler until the top is bubbling.
Yummy, healthy, fast and filling…does it get better than that?