I love cast iron frying pans. I was reticent to use them because I’d gotten the idea they were high maintenance- difficult to clean, prone to rust and needing constant seasoning. You know what? They are not much harder to maintain than any other frying pan. And they have lots of benefits!
A cast iron frying pain, once heated, will stay very hot. It provides an even heat because the whole pan gets hot. Every little edge of the pan is hot, so your food cooks evenly.
Cast iron can be put in the oven- which means you can start by sautéing on the stovetop, add extra ingredients, and pop the whole thing in the oven. No extra dishes involved!
I also like the weight of cast iron pans. For example, to make a perfect panini sandwich, heat both pans on the stove. Place your sandwich in one pan, and then place the other frying pan on top. Both pans will be hot so your sandwich will cook evenly, and the weight of the top frying pan “presses” the sandwich.
As far as maintenance, it’s pretty simple. Often all it needs is a quick wipe with a very hot cloth and a good drying with paper towel. Don’t use a tea towel to dry it- it inevitably gets a bit greasy or discoloured. The goal is not to de-grease the pan 100% as it needs a slightly oily surface to work properly.
If there are bits of food stuck on the pan, just add a bit of water and heat it back up, gently scraping off the little bits.
It’s important not to leave your pan soaking in water or to leave it wet, as it will rust. If you get some rust, it can be easily fixed with steel wool. Rub the pan in small circular motions with the steel wool to remove the rust.
Stay posted for a great tutorial on how to easily season your cast iron pan and keep it in top notch shape. UPDATE: Read my post on cast iron maintenance here.