The four big cooking techniques that are a bit different with cast iron than other cookware are:
- You can often get by with less heat since the cast iron gets really hot throughout the pan.
- Because it gets so hot, the food will continue to cook once you’ve turned off the heat source. (I once burned $9 of shitake mushrooms I was baking because I didn’t remove them right away from my pizza pan.)
- BE CAREFUL. Cast iron gets hot. Really hot. It’s easy to forget how hot it is and grab for the handle. To avoid this, I buy a silicone pot handle for every skillet I have and make sure the silicone handle is ALWAYS on. It adds a few dollars to the cost of each skillet, but I have only been burned once…when the handle cover didn’t get put back on after cleaning. I buy red since red reminds me and my kids that this pot is HOT!!! I also have a silicone trivet and several bamboo cutting boards for setting hot cast iron on my table or countertop. Also, when I put a skillet in the oven, I remove the silicone handle cover and I position the skillet so the handle is facing the back of the oven. That way I am less likely to accidentally grab the hot handle without a hot pad. And remember to keep hot pads available for the smaller handles on Dutch ovens or even skillets. (I just ordered ablack silicone handle cover to put on for dinner parties. I think it would look so much prettier to have a black handled skillet as a centerpiece rather than a red handled skillet.)
- A light coat of oil is probably all you’ll need to keep foods from sticking. Although you might want to use a bit more oil when the pan is new, you’ll eventually see that you really don’t need that much.