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Kitchen Essentials: Cast Iron Care

Following up on my love of cast iron cookware I feel it is important to touch on some basics in caring for your pots and pans.

Following up on my love of cast iron cookware I feel it is important to touch on some basics in caring for your pots and pans.

To recap, cast iron cookware is more durable and affordable than premium brands. Cast iron provides even heat distribution and retention while cooking. These pots and pans also become seasoned with layers of flavour that provide a natural non-stick surface making them a joy to cook with.

After purchasing your new cast iron pots and pans, you should cure them if the manufacturer has not already done this. There are many ways to proceed. The most straightforward method I know of is to heat your oven up to 500F, evenly coat your pot or pan with an oil of your choice, wipe off excess oil with a paper towel, place the pot in the oven upside down on a pan to catch any drippings, turn off the oven and let it cure overnight.
To avoid the need to constantly re-season your cookware try to avoid cooking on extremely high heat and using utensils that will scratch the cooking surface. Wooden spoons and rubber spatulas are choice tools for a cook who uses cast iron.

To clean after cooking wash immediately in hot water, dry thoroughly and rub with oil. If there are stubborn pieces of food stuck on I will first use salt and scrub with a dry rag. If you are worried about bacteria, use a small amount of mild soap and a light-duty scouring pad. To avoid rust and to maintain the cure, always dry completely and coat with oil after every wash.

Here are some things made more delicious by cooking them in a cast iron skillet: Cornbread, Steak, Roasted Meat, Fish, Roasted Vegetables, Flatbread, Egg dishes (My favourite being frittatas), Pies, Crumbles, Brownies.
Swiss Chard Frittata

A frittata is an open-faced omlette similar to a crustless quiche

Ingredients:

  • Rainbow swiss chard
  • garlic
  • onion
  • eggs
  • unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  • lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 400F

Directions:

  1. Wash and de-stem your chard, finely chop the stems, roughly chop the leaves, fine dice your onion and garlic.
  2. In your skillet, sauté stems, onions, garlic until onions are translucent and stems are soft. Add chopped leaves and wilt slightly. Add a splash of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk eggs until light and airy with nutmeg and salt.
  4. Add to skillet and stir with rubber spatula. Cook on stove until just set around the edges. Place in oven and bake until fully set: the top should be golden brown.
  5. May be served hot, cold or at room temperature.
  6. You can substitute kale or spinach for swiss chard depending on your preference.

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