Along with a collection of over 120 brilliantly photographed mouthwatering recipes, readers of Cook’s Country “Cook It In Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All,” will find tips for choosing, seasoning and maintaining cast iron cookware, as well as an evaluation of traditional and enameled cast-iron skillets. (Evaluations were made from among 10 cast-iron skillets, six enameled and four traditional, each about 12 inches in diameter.) Coming as no surprise to those of us who already own one of these “workhorses” of the kitchen, specialists at America’s Test Kitchen, the home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and Cook’s Country magazine, “highly recommends” Lodge’s classic cast-iron skillet and Calphalon’s pre-seasoned cast-iron skillet, in addition to Le Creuset’s Signature Iron Handle Skillet.
While my own Lodge cast-iron skillet (pictured above with the vintage metal spatula) has the “smooth, dark black semiglossy finish” that a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet aspires to, it has rarely been used for cooking tasks that go beyond the stovetop – a circumstance that has left my – and possibly your, skillet sadly underused.
With its heat retaining properties, a cast-iron skillet is ideal for baking and serving hot, cheesy dips, such as Baked Pepperoni Pizza Dip. Moreover, as a cooking tool and vessel for a one-dish entrée, like Baked Ziti with Charred Tomatoes, the skillet can handle the blistering of grape tomatoes stovetop, or the browning of cheese under the broiler, with equal ease. As possible dishes for upcoming Super Bowl parties on February 7, either of these is sure to please.
“Cook It In Cast Iron” also reveals protocols for preheating a cast iron skillet in a 500-degree oven before moving it to the stove – advantageous for a fast, perfect sear when preparing a thick-cut steak that is well-seared on the outside and flawlessly cooked within. Recipes for “Thick-Cut Steaks with Herb Butter” and “Caramelized Onion, Pear and Bacon Tart” will be coming soon – in time for sharing on Valentine’s Day – and it’s something you surely won’t want to miss.