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    .Cookware: Cast Iron Skillets

    Source of Recipe

    From "A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen" by Dora Charles

    Recipe Introduction

    "I have a secret weapon in the kitchen: It's my grandmother's old cast-iron skillet with a glass lid. It seems to glow with all the wonderful food she cooked in it over the years. When Southerners talk about cast-iron cooking utensils being seasoned, that's what we really mean — that they've absorbed a little of the flavor of decades of cooking, and they give it back to us when we cook in them. My grandmother's skillet has a surface that's almost soft, so it's naturally nonstick. Cast iron holds heat like no other cookware, giving you a great crust on your cornbread or crisp edges on your sausage patties and your fried fish. It's really the signature of Southern cooking — you see an old iron skillet or Dutch oven on the stovetop, and you know you're in for some wonderful food. It takes just a little bit of maintenance to keep your skillet going. You can buy pre-seasoned skillets, but I like to do it myself, and reseason it from time to time if it starts to lose that glow."

    List of Ingredients

    ✰ ✰ ✰

    Recipe

    • To Season or Reseason a Skillet:

    Wash the skillet well in hot soapy water and dry it over medium heat on the stovetop. Set the oven to 375 degrees. Spread a thin layer of grease all over the skillet—it can be lard, Crisco, or just vegetable oil. Put the skillet in the oven for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave the skillet in there to cool down. Wipe it out with paper towels when it's cool. If it's very humid at your house, store the skillet in a brown paper bag to absorb any extra moisture, which will keep it from rusting.


    • Maintaining Your Skillet:

    Always put a little oil or bacon grease in the skillet before you start cooking. The naturally nonstick surface doesn't mean that you shouldn't use any fat in the pan; it just means the food won't stick if you treat the skillet properly.

    Try not to use more than a little soap on the skillet—wash it under very hot water, using a nonscratch nylon or chain mail scrubber—these are designed for cast iron, some clean in the dishwasher, and are guaranteed for a lifetime. If there's still something left in the pan that's resisting scrubbing, use a little salt or baking soda and some paper towels. If the skillet loses its glow after a salt scrub, just reseason it.

    If your skillet ever gets rusty, you can clean off the rust by scrubbing it with the flat side of a potato sliced in half plus some vegetable oil. Wipe out the rusty oil with paper towels, wash the pan well, and reseason.


    • Reclaiming Old Skillets:

    Yard sales are a great source of old skillets, which are real treasures. If a skillet you find hasn't been properly cared for, toss it into a campfire and let the burned-on bits burn off. Once it's cool, continue with a good scrub under hot water and then give it a good seasoning like the one I described above. You can find all kinds of old cast-iron skillets—square ones, gigantic ones, deep ones. If you bring them back to life, they make great gifts—instant heirlooms.

 

 

 


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