Seasoning, cleaning, and using the Cast Iron Pan
There are normally 2 camps when it come to Cast Iron (the original camp cook wear)
- Get that Ugly rusty heavy stinky thing off my glass top stove.
- Do not touch my Iron, don't think about cleaning it and how can you live with out one camp.
My wife is #1 I of course am solidly in the camp #2
Why is that pan just sitting there with oil in it?
Oil if not abused can be used multiple times. even more if filtered between uses. When I fry in my pan I use it all week guarantee I will fry three or four more things in it.
Right now as I type I am thinking French fries, Beignets, I have an authentic Cafe' Du Monde box waiting in my cupboard. Finally frying some coconut shrimp. By then the oil will be pretty used up and we will have gotten a much better value from it.
If you have a neglected pan we are going to start with a hard clean and seasoning. Think of the pan a a dessert no water. scrub with cooking oils and wire brush if necessary Bacon fat really does work the best IMO.
At this point you have a virgin non seasoned surface. Everything in the world is going to stick to it. Heat it up and cool re-oiling 3-4 times. This allows the oil to really penetrate as the pan gets hot and cold expanding and retracting.
When the pan is cool to the touch use a good amount of oil and a rag(no paper towels) add some salt
and scrub away any particles. I store mine in the oven EMPTY on the bottom rack and here is why:
Today's ovens give you a blast of heat every time they turn on until it dissipates and then goes full blast again. anything you can do to mitigate this gets an even cooking. The cast iron holds so much heat the element turns on fewer times.
When using the pan heat first slowly and add a small amount of oil wipe this out of the Pan and then start cooking. If you skip this step you may have black carbon residue.