Well-cared-for-cast-iron skillets are the backbone of Louisiana cooking. From stove top to oven, they can cook just about anything.
My cast-iron skillets got a workout last weekend when I used them to make an entire meal.
Well-seasoned cast iron or coated cast iron works best for even heating and long cook times. To season your non-coated cast iron, rub it with a good even coating of vegetable oil or some reserved bacon grease. Turn the pan upside down and put a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any dripping oil. Bake it at 350 F for about an hour, then wipe it dry with paper towels. To maintain the skillet's seasoning, just rub a little bit of oil onto the pan after every wash and wipe it dry, but don’t rub off all the coating.
Now, what to cook in that well-seasoned skillet?
It’s duck season, so if you know hunters, start buttering them up for fresh duck meat. Cooked with a bit of citrus and herbs in a cast-iron skillet, this duck dish makes your house smell like Christmas again.
Such a rich main dish calls for some sides with a little heat and a touch of sweet. I got some fresh Brussels sprouts from the farmers market. To make a glaze for them, I reduced locally made Bull Dog pepper jelly. The sweet potatoes, another market find, turned out warm and tender. A few pecans gave them some crunch. Both dishes also cooked quickly and evenly in my trusty cast iron skillets.
So what are you going to cook up in your cast-iron skillets?