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My Cast-Iron Skillet Is My Favorite Healthy Cooking Tool |

My Cast-Iron Skillet Is My Favorite Healthy Cooking Tool

Before I owned a cast-iron skillet, I never thought I’d use it as much as I do now. I thought it was just a pan. Sure, a fancy-looking pan that I knew needed special care, but nothing more than a pan, right?

Wrong. My cast-iron skillet has completely revolutionized my cooking game. It’s the perfect tool for so many recipes, from seared meats to cornbread to French toast.

What makes it so special? Cast-iron skillets are naturally non-stick, can withstand super high temperatures, and are oven-safe.

Like a Dutch oven, you can use it on the stove AND in the oven. When properly seasoned, cast-iron pans are naturally non-stick (more on how to season your pan later on). And, unlike coated non-stick pans, cast-iron withstands super high temps and distributes heat evenly, so you always wind up with perfectly crispy meats and exceptionally charred veggies.

I like to use it to make things like pork or steak, because I can start them on the stove to get a good brown sear, and then let them finish cooking in the oven. Basically, it’s the best, and if you don’t already own one, you should seriously consider getting one ASAP.

It’s honestly not even that much of a splurge. You can buy Lodges’s 10-inch cast iron skillet (which is the brand many chefs swear by) for just $25. And, heads up: If you sign up for SELFstarter—a new members-only food, fitness, and shopping site from the editors of SELF—you can get 10 percent cash back on your purchase.

They’re also not hard to clean and maintain, as long as you know the basics and have the right tools.

One other thing I highly recommend buying with your cast-iron skillet is this $15 cleaning tool called The Ringer. It feels like chain mail (like the stuff the knights of the round table wore) and it’s kind of fun to play with. But really you need it because it’ll make cleaning your pan a cinch: It gets rid of all the stuck-on bits and crumbs that might otherwise be hard to remove, without wrecking the seasoning.

That’s the other thing: Most cast-iron pans are sold seasoned, which just means they have a layer of oil baked in to make them non-stick. Maintaining that seasoning is simple. Just never EVER wash your pan with anything tough, like steel wool, because it WILL strip it off. Whether you can use a sponge and soap is hotly contested—some people think it’ll destroy that seasoning, some don’t. I personally don’t wash with a soap and sponge—I give it a rinse with warm water and a scrub with The Ringer—but if cooking with a pan that hasn’t been properly sudsed grosses you out, do what you gotta do. If you do accidentally strip the seasoning, or your pan ever gets rusty or seems beyond repair, you can totally re-season it yourself and get it back to its original working quality (find out how to do that here).

Now for the things you can cook in it. These are the recipes I love, plus some I can’t wait to try.

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
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