TO USE A CAST IRON SKILLET AND HOW TO KEEP THEM SEASONED
-- a properly
seasoned cast iron pan is nonstick
-- excellent conductor of heat -- heats evenly
-- very cheap to buy
-- one of the best pans to use to sauté a steak
is a good regulator. It retains its temperature longer than
other materials and won’t produce temperature spikes.
iron has unparalleled searing power because it has a lot of
available thermal energy
Iron Skillet Disadvantages:
-- a properly
seasoned cast iron pan is nonstick
-- cast iron pans are heavy and difficult to use in some sauté
-- if not properly cared for a cast iron pan will rust
iron is slow to heat up, so it’s also slow to cool down.
--Not recommended for deglazing using acids or wine
is slow to heat up, and will have initial hot spots since iron
is a poor conductor of heat unlike aluminum... it will also
be slow to cool down.
food stick to a pans surface?
sticks is caused by chemical bonds that form between the food
and the material of the pan - almost always a metal. These bonds
may be relatively weak van der Waals forces or covalent bonds.
Protein-rich foods are particularly prone to sticking because
the proteins can form complexes with metal atoms, such as iron,
in the pan. For a full explanation see: Why
foods stick to pans?
seasoned cast iron pan will have a nonstick surface. The patina
will be a dark shiny black surface.
Iron Pans that are properly seasoned are nonstick
of Seasoning Cast Iron Cooking
or fats are heated in a pan, multiple degradation reactions occur,
including: autoxidation, thermal oxidation, polymerization, cyclization
and fission.[See wikipedia references below].
of a seasoned cast iron pan is actually a two part process: polymerization
and carbonization. The first part involves developing a thin layer
of polymerized oil on the cast iron.This is done by applying a
very thin coat of unsaturated oil (e.g., canola, flaxseed or grapeseed
oil) to the cast iron surface and heating it in an oven until
it dries. Unsaturated fats work better since they have less hydrogen's
and therefore have less non-carbon components. Once the polymerization
process is complete the layer of oil cannot be easily removed.
To complete the seasoning, which involves laying down of a carbon
matrix on to the cast iron surface, heat must be applied slightly
above above the smoke point of the oil. If you do not heat above
the smoke point only the polymerized oil coat will be present
instead of having an added rich black carbon matrix.
Season a Cast Iron Pan
fats work best (unsaturated means that some of the carbons in
the fatty acid chains contain reactive double bonds). Nineteenth
century American cooks typically used lard because it was readily
available and unsaturated enough to polymerize well, but almost
any oil will work.( Note: Lard from the 19th century was
more saturated than today because the feed was more natural).
When an unsaturated fat is heated to high temperatures, especially
in the presence of a good catalyst like iron, it is broken down
and oxidized, after which it polymerizes –joins into larger mega
molecules the same way plastics do – and mixes with bits of carbon
and other impurities. This tough, impermeable surface adheres
to the pores and crevices in the cast iron as it is forming. The
surface is nonstick because it is hydrophobic – it hates water.
A well seasoned cast iron pan will have a slick and glassy coating
that is best achieved by baking on multiple "very" thin
coats of oil.
We find that using a very thin layer allows the best results since
the patina is a two step process, polymerization and carbon deposition.
If too much oil is spread on the cast iron pan you can achieve
polymerization but carbon deposition will not be sufficient.
Acidic foods, such as tomatoes, will deteriorate the seasoned
coating of your pots and pans
3: If highly unsaturated oils are used and too low a
temperature they will not completely polymerize leaving a sticky
layer. The problem with this sticky layer is that it is still
prone to further oxidation and can therefore turn rancid. Low
temperatures do not completely polymerize and break down oil and
will leave a brown, somewhat sticky pan instead of a black, nonstick
one. 400-500 degrees F is the effective range for seasoning.
The best way to evenly heat cast iron is in the oven.
skillets do not heat evenly on the stove top so for best results
preheat the pan in the oven then cook on top. This will insure
a nice even sear. In some case e.g., a rib eye steak, chicken
legs or pork chops we will return to the oven to get a nice even
crisp brown (see photo below).
Iron Cooking --Pork Rib Chop -- sautéed in preheated
cast iron skillet and finished in oven --shown with roasted
I would stay away from deglazing a cast iron skillet with wine
since the acid can react with iron. But it's OK to deglaze with
Iron Cooking -- Seared Scallops in preheated hot cast iron
skillet... 3 minutes on heat, flip, turn off heat and remove
from hot burner. The pan is hot so it will continue to cook
RIB EYE STEAK
Iron Cooking--his is probably one of the best ways to do
a rib eye steak. Let the steak come to room temperature...
salt and pepper and a little oil on both sides. Heat the
skillet at 475 in the oven then bring to the stove top and
heat some more (dry). Then throw it 3-5 minutes on each
side and another 5 minutes in the oven. This gave a nice
medium rare center after resting another 5 minutes off the
skillet. This was a 1.05 lb, 1inch thick cut. You will have
to play with the times using this method to get it right
to your taste --- just remember to expect a 'lot' of smoke
on the stove top!
IRON (CRISPY SKIN) SEARED CHICKEN
Iron Cooking--Preheat cast iron skillet in oven 475F-- add
oil and then sear skin side down for 7-10 minutes checking
heat -- from high to medium -- skim off fat and move to
oven for another 5 minutes leaving skin side down. Then
flip over and remove fat and let cook skin side up for 2-3
minutes till done.
times may be different depending on type of chicken.
Clean Cast Iron Pans
pan with hot water immediately after cooking. For burned-on food
it's all right to scrub with a mild abrasive, like coarse salt,
and a nonmetal brush. This will help preserve the nonstick surface.
Some recommend for cleaning to pour some kosher salt into the
pan and wipe it out with a paper towel.
If the pan
gets a sticky coating or develops rust it will need to be reseasoned.
To prevent rust from forming dry the skillet thoroughly and lightly
coat the cooking surface with cooking oil. To prepare a cast iron
pan for re seasoning you can put it in the oven on the self-clean
cycle. It will come out like brand new, ready for seasoning. I
like to keep my cast iron skillet in the oven all the time. Even
when using the oven for other purposes.
of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To
Metal: the Science of Cast Iron Cooking
Cast Iron Skillets-- Wikipedia