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It may be the most versatile pan around, yet it's hundreds of years old and comes in one color: the cast-iron piece de resistance. For generations of cooks, the pan has been passed along from kitchen to kitchen as an heirloom. You’ll find plenty of recipes online celebrating the art of cast-iron cookery, and in the cookbook “Lodge Cast Iron Nation.” Lodge is the only company that still makes cast-iron cookware in the U.S. in South Pittsburg, Tenn., since 1896.

Whether the cookware is used to fry chicken, bake cornbread, roast Brussels sprouts or sear steak, the pans add a special sizzle to cooking. You can use it on the stove, in the oven, on the grill or campfire, and at the table, where the dish can be presented direct from the heat.

And let’s face it. It’s the only way to make pineapple upside down cake and get that wonderful carmelization. You can make all sorts of things in cast-iron, and it comes in all sizes. Five-inch mini skillets are perfect for baking and serving large chocolate chip cookies for a special dessert. Top with toasted, sugared almonds, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a swirl of salted caramel topping. Or line a big skillet with parchment paper and use it to bake a pie.

Cast-iron is affordable and can be used every day. Lodge cast-iron comes already seasoned, with instructions on how to maintain it. This is tough stuff – it doesn’t need to be babied.

15-Minute Parmesan Frittata for Two

• 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

• 1 small red potato, sliced ¼-inch thick

• ½ teaspoon kosher salt

• ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

• 4 large eggs

• 2 tablespoons milk

• ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

• 3 tablespoons julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes, Greek-oregano flavor

• Fresh basil leaves and sliced scallions, for garnish (optional)

In a 10-inch nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium heat warm oil. Add potatoes, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook potatoes, flipping once, until both sides are soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl add eggs, milk, cheese, and tomatoes. Whisk well to combine.

Pour eggs over cooked potatoes; stir to combine with potato slices, using a rubber spatula. Cook until edges are set, and the center is slightly wiggly. Transfer to oven and bake for 1-3 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Remove from oven with a pot holder. Slide frittata onto a cutting board and slice frittata into 4 pieces. Serves 2.

Caramel Walnut Skillet Brownie

  • 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Coffee or vanilla ice cream (optional)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, the flour, cocoa powder, coffee crystals, baking soda and salt; set aside. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron or other heavy oven-going skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until very lightly toasted. Add 1/4 cup butter to skillet; stir to melt, then add 1/2 cup brown sugar to skillet. Cook and stir until mixture bubbles and brown sugar begins to melt.

Remove skillet from heat and carefully add 1/2 cup cream to skillet. Return to heat; cook and stir until combined and sugar is melted. Set aside.Add 6 tablespoons melted butter, eggs and 1/4 cup cream to cocoa mixture; stir until combined. Fold in chopped dark chocolate Carefully spoon batter over nut mixture in skillet.

Bake in a 325 F oven for 35 minutes or until just set (place a shallow baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips). Remove from oven and cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm with ice cream, if you like. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Source: Midwest Living

Black Olive Cornbread Wedges with Chorizo Tomato Gravy

• No-Stick cooking spray

• 1 large egg

• 3/4 cup buttermilk

• 1(6.5 oz.) package yellow cornbread Mix

• 2 tablespoon melted butter

• 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed

• 1 (2.25 oinces) can sliced black olives, drained

For gravy:

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 1 cup diced onion

• 2 links (about 6 ounces) Mexican chorizo sausage, casings remove

• 3 tablespoons butter

• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 2 cups milk

• 1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned and drained

• 1/2 teaspoon paprika

For garnishes

• Chopped green onion

• diced avocado

• Crumbled tortilla chips

• Chopped tomatoes and/or sliced fresh limes

Heat oven to 400° F. Spray 9-inch cast iron wedge pan generously with no-stick cooking spray. Place in oven 6 to 7 minutes or until hot. Beat egg in large bowl. Add buttermilk, cornbread mix, 2 tablespoons melted butter, corn and olives. Mix thoroughly. Pour evenly into wedges in hot pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven; keep warm. You can substitute 10 ¼-inch cast iron skillet; bake 20 to 25 minutes, then remove from oven, cut into wedges and keep warm

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-1/4-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Crumble chorizo in skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until brown. Remove mixture to small bowl. Set aside. Wipe out skillet with paper towel.

Return skillet to medium heat. Melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add flour. Whisk until mixture is golden. Add milk, tomatoes and paprika. Whisk about 3 minutes, or until thickened. Add chorizo mixture to gravy. To serve, place a wedge of cornbread on each plate, topped with 1/2 cup of chorizo tomato gravy. Garnish as desired. Makes 8 servings.


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