Cast-iron cookware is, in my opinion, the secret “ingredient” to great-tasting food. I cook and bake exclusively with cast iron, and whether it’s golden French toast or perfect pan-fried steaks, I always reach for one of my more than 50 pieces of vintage and modern cast-iron cookware.
I scout out discarded and abandoned pieces of cast-iron cookware at yard sales and auctions. A 100-year-old rusty Griswold muffin pan came home with me for a pittance at a local auction. After a thorough scrub with coarse salt and a halved potato, I wiped it out with a damp dish towel to remove all the salt and then generously coated the muffin pan with bacon grease. After baking it in the oven at 325 degrees for three hours, the result was an amazing transformation and muffins slide out with ease every time.
Contrary to popular belief, cast-iron cookware isn’t much more difficult to maintain than modern Teflon-coated or aluminum pans. Is cast iron heavy? Yes. Does it require a little TLC now and then? Yes. However, the results of your recipes will far outweigh these little “inconveniences.”
If you are interested in cooking with cast iron, start out with some basic pieces such as a skillet, muffin tin, and the always popular Dutch oven. You can find discarded pieces at yard sales, auctions, or in your grandmother’s attic. With a little elbow grease and some care, you can bring your piece back to life. Modern pieces such as Lodge come pre-seasoned. In both cases, once you’ve tasted a recipe prepared on cast iron, I’ll bet you will become hooked.
The following recipes use the basic cast iron pieces I mentioned above. These recipes are easy to fix and are a favorite of those who visit our farm.