It took me an embarrassingly long time to commit to a cast iron skillet. This was one part laziness, one part trepidation (as things often are, personally). From what I had read, cast iron requires a commitment. Season before use. Never use soap to clean it. Don’t forget to season it after use. Clean it out with a kosher salt scrub. Please don’t forget to season it.
For a kid raised on nonstick pans, this was a lot to take in. Plus, they’re expensive! And heavy! And hot!
When I started getting back into bread baking, I was forced to reevaluate my stance on cast iron. My sourdoughs and various miches weren’t achieving the spring I anticipated. I had followed recipes closely and patiently coaxed my starter from messy floury mix to bubbling mother starter. What I kept ignoring was the continued advice to use a dutch oven. According to various sources, a dutch oven is the ideal tool for a home baker looking to achieve the steam saturation of a professional oven. Cast iron, no! I had to accept the facts, though – if I ever really wanted to achieve the bread I was seeking, I would have to commit.
So, with the help of Amazon, I did. And I haven’t looked back.
While I haven’t used the deep end of the combo cooker for more than bread baking, I’ve become rather attached to my cast iron skillet. Of course it requires less attention than I anticipated, and yet I care for it so meticulously that my father announced today, You know what, why don’t you just take thing to your bed?
Um, because it might ruin my latest seasoning. HELLO? What is this, amateur hour?
The best part about this acquisition is how handy it is. I typically use mine for frying up slices of smoked ham, but this Sunday morning, it was the star of the show.
I know it seems like I’m always going on about making pancakes or eating pancakes, but can you really blame me? I love the ritual of making pancakes on a Sunday morning, much like some relish the ritual of making French press coffee or reading the Times, cover to cover. Making pancakes, for me, means a lazy Sunday morning with good tunes on the radio and a cup of black tea that hits me square in the chest. This was my first time using the cast iron to make pancakes and there was definitely an adjustment period. A bit of a long adjustment period, truthfully, but we all made up at the end and now we’re just the two best friends anyone could have.
Instead of dousing my pancakes with a generous glug of maple syrup, I decided to try something new. I macerated a handful of strawberries and blueberries, and, after they had been beaten with an inch of their lives, I poured in a measure or two of Morris Kitchen‘s Rhubarb Syrup. Have I said how much I love rhubarb yet? Well, if you don’t know, now you know.
Sure, I quote Biggie in my off-time. Doesn’t everyone?
In addition to pancakes, and because my family is one that likes a wide variety of options at breakfast, we had smoked salmon, avocado, and an assortment of other savory dishes. And that, my friends, means toast.
I had one-day-old Pugliese from Bien Cuit in the kitchen, which I sliced up and placed in a hot and ready-to-go cast iron. Again, I’ve never used this pan to make toast before, but I was able to fit four slices of bread in there, and it gave me much more control than a toaster oven. I’m kicking myself for not figuring this out sooner and saving myself from an embarrassing amount of burnt toast.
Do you have a cast iron skillet you love and cherish and treat with more care than some pairs of shoes? Tell me all about it. I’ll just be over here, slicing the remains of the Pugliese and toasting it in preparation of une fête des moules.