Dads, if you stay at home then you are probably cooking for your children. It is imperative that you switch from the non-stick pan to the iron skillet, if you haven’t already. Although easier to use and clean, all “non-stick” pans degrade with use and this process results in bad stuff getting into your food. Disturbingly bad if you believe the studies.
Enough with the lecture.
What I didn’t realize was how much better my food would taste once I got a handle on how to use the iron skillet. Did you know that you get gourmet restaurant caliber steaks by frying in a little butter in an iron skillet, 2 minutes on each side on super high heat – then bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees (medium-rare). You will be stunned. For well-done, go 3 minutes/side and 15-20 in the oven.
Iron skillets like this one from cooking.com go for around $20
The trick is keeping the iron skillet clean. While it is still hot, wipe out with sponge or rage, using little or preferably no soaps or detergents. Always condition the pan with oil or spray after cleaning and/or before each use. It will get better and better with age, crisping and browning like nobody’s business.
Iron skillets are heavy, which means two important things for you:
1) Iron skillets take much longer to heat up and cool down. If you pour the eggs in before the iron skillet is warm enough, it’s gonna get weird. If you throw your chicken down when the iron skillet is way too hot, your chicken will likely burn and stick to the pan. The bottom line is that the iron skillet is less forgiving than the non-stick pan.
2) Iron skillets are much harder to throw around. Tossing stir-fry, flipping eggs, and general moving around are much more cumbersome when your pan ways 5 pounds or more. Practice makes perfect. Understand that there will be a learning curve, and mastering it pays off.