A couple years ago, I received a cast-iron skillet as a gift. I had always wanted one but never went ahead and purchased one for myself. I should have done so sooner, because it has become one of my favorite pans in the kitchen. Here’s why:
Once a cast iron skillet is “seasoned” it has a natural non-stick patina (surface sheen). Many skillets now come pre-seasoned, and with regular use and care, the surface continues to develop an even better patina, making food even less likely to stick.
More even cooking
While the pan takes longer to heat up, once it is heated it holds the heat for a long time; and I found it distributes the heat more evenly than most of my other pans.
I found a 10-inch cast-iron skillet for less than $20 online and in stores. You cannot beat that for a good, durable pan.
Easy to clean
The non-stick nature of a well-seasoned skillet means easier clean up.
This is the only pan I have where I can start cooking something on the stove (like browning the outside of a cut of meat) and move it to the oven to finish cooking. I can sauté, braise, fry, brown, and bake with it. Stovetop or oven, it can handle both.
One of my new favorite dishes to make in my cast-iron skillet is Strawberry Rhubarb Galette. It worked wonderfully for this dessert. It kept the syrup from the filling confined to the pan and kept the crust from getting soggy.
Plus, the galette looks so good in the pan – rustic, simple, and mouthwatering. Here’s the recipe:
- Dough ingredients:
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1c. whole-wheat flour
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes
- 6-8 Tbsp. ice water
- Filling ingredients:
- 3 c. halved and quartered strawberries
- 3 c. rhubarb, cut into ½-1 inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- ½ c. granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp. minute tapioca
- 1 tsp. turbinado sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
- Prepare dough in a large bowl by stirring together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, kosher salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
- Add cold butter (be sure it is cold) and cut in with a pastry blender until butter is distributed and forms pea-sized pieces.
- Add the ice water 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, using a fork to mix it in, until the dough is easy to handle, but not sticky.
- Form the dough into a small disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Let it rest in the refrigerator while making the filling.
- Prepare filling by gently mixing together the strawberries, rhubarb, lime juice, sugar, and minute tapioca.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the galette dough to roughly 2 inches wider in diameter than your pan. For my 12-inch skillet, I rolled the dough out to around 14 inches.
- Fold the rolled-out dough in half and carefully transfer it to the cast-iron skillet. Unfold the dough and gently press it onto the bottom and sides of the pan, stretching slightly if needed.
- Spread filling evenly onto the dough in the skillet. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pinching together any open cracks.
- Brush dough lightly with water and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of turbinado sugar.
- Bake 50 to 55 minutes until crust is golden and fruit filling is soft and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or chilled.
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