Cooking With Cast Iron

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Cast iron retains heat perfectly — and evenly — making it the the best cookery piece for searing meats at high temperatures (think: steakhouse crust in your own kitchen), stir-frying vegetables, and deep-frying fish. And once properly seasoned, a cast-iron pan is naturally nonstick, which is great for eggy dishes like the classic Spanish tortilla. Another plus: Cast-iron cookware works just as well in the oven as on the stovetop.

Le Creuset just may be the gold standard for cooking with cast iron. In fun colors such as orange (flame), blue (Marseille), red (cherry), and green (fennel), these skillets, pots, and Dutch ovens are lust-worthy kitchen items.

For classic and reliable cast-iron cookware, Lodge can't be beat. Available in a variety of sizes and shapes (think griddles and cornstick pans in addition to the standards), home cooks and professional chefs have sworn by this respectable brand since practically forever — technically, 1896.

Other top quality cookware companies have been taking notice of cast iron's durability and versatility, and now both Calphalon and Emeril by All-Clad include a complete line of cast-iron products.

At Williams-Sonoma, you can find Staub's cast-iron cookware, which reminds us of Le Creuset's pieces but in colors slightly more subdued. Great for stews and braises and steak house-like sears, cast iron will quickly become your favorite kitchen tool.

It's no surprise that Rachael Ray's extensive product offerings include an assortment of cast iron pans and pots in an array of colors and sizes.

The reigning king of Italian cuisine, Mario Batali, also has a sturdy line of cast-iron cookware. All shapes and sizes are available with a red exterior and ivory interior. Try whipping up pasta sauce or a rich Bolognese in one of these pots.

Scroll through the slideshow above to shop our stylish cast iron picks — once you start cooking with cast iron, we bet you'll have little use for anything else in your kitchen.

— Stacey Gawronski, Lifestyle Mirror


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