Thursday, October 23, 2008

Types of Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware comes in all shapes and sizes
Your cast iron skillet is a workhorse of cancer free cookware. This culinary standby has been in use on this continent since the beginning of Western colonization, and has roots going back over a thousand years in Europe and elsewhere.

A good cast iron skillet is ideal for steak, pork chops, chicken breasts, and fish. It is also your best friend for scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelettes, and frittatas. It makes amazing pancakes, authentic quesadillas, insane cornbread, and positively ludicrous oven-baked home fries.

Your dutch oven, another storied member of the cook's healthy living toolkit, is out-of-this world for popcorn, and is solid gold for longer-cook dishes like chili, stew, and spaghetti. Lewis and Clark remarked that their dutch oven was one of the most valuable items in their cross-continent journey.

There are two main types of cast iron dutch oven: regular old seasoned (black) cast iron, and enameled cast iron. There are advantages and disadvantages to enameled and bare cast iron. Among regular cast iron (not enameled) dutch ovens, there are stovetop / oven models, and also models designed for outdoor open fire cooking. Camp dutch ovens typically have little legs on the bottom, and have lids designed to hold coals from the fire.

A dual use griddle/grill pan is dynamite for pancakes, fried eggs, and quesadillas, as well as a host of other meats and veggies that require a bit more real estate to sear off and/or could benefit from grill marks and flavor.

There are a number of lesser-known sizes and shapes of cast iron cookware, from corn cob-shaped cornbread forms to waffle irons and loaf pans. But the basics remain the same: care and regular use will make them last generations.

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