Where to commonly find a cast-iron pan?
Was watching some pan-seared steak methods last night and am dying to try it out today..
Believe it or not -- we own no cast iron pan.
Where can I commonly find one of these without having to drive around to specialty stores
Canadian Tire? Sears? The Bay?
I am thinking of locations at Heartland town center in Mississauga which pretty much has some of everything
Canadian Tire, Home Hardware should have the cast iron pan of your dreams...
Remember that you have to season it first for best nonstick results though and that takes some time...
You season a cast iron pan by rubbing it with a relatively thin coat of neutral oil (I stress a light coat of oil).
Place the cast iron pan, upside down, in the oven, with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to catch any drips. Heat the pan for 30 to 60 minutes in a 300 to 500 degree oven. Once done, let the pan cool to room temperature. Repeating this process several times is recommended as it will help create a stronger "seasoning" bond.
The oil fills the cavities and becomes entrenched in them, as well as rounding off the peaks. By seasoning a new pan, the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. Also, because the pores are permeated with oil, water cannot seep in and create rust that would give food an off-flavor.
Your ironware will be slightly discolored at this stage, but a couple of frying jobs will help complete the cure, and turn the iron into the rich, black color that is the sign of a well-seasoned, well-used skillet or pot.
Never put cold liquid into a very hot cast iron pan or oven. They will crack on the spot!
Be careful when cooking with your cast-iron pots on an electric range, because the burners create hot spots that can warp cast iron or even cause it to crack. Be sure to preheat the iron very slowly when using an electric range and keep the settings to medium or even medium-low.
Once it's seasoned, NEVER use soap or submerge the pan in water to clean it. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth and if you see the "Seasoning" disappear, give the pan a quick wipe with a paper towel dipped in the oil...
Yes but if you don't use the pan often, I have found those items go rancid quite quickly...my main pan I use lard on as I use it several times a week, however my "second pan" and my wok get veg (canola) oil treatment so as not to have that rancid animal fat smell each time I heat them up...
re: Mike from Hamilton
Another thing is that you NEVER want to use abrasive sponges or anything tougher than a cloth on the surface or it can tear off the seasoning. I read somewhere once to simply put some roughly ground salt on the spot in the pan and lightly use that in combination with a cloth to get rid of any hard to remove spots, then simply rinse the salt away.
Do your local stores carry Lodge? These are touted as 'pre-seasoned' and even if you don't believe that and season it more yourself, I have found the two I have to be great. Just keep getting better and better.
A great cheap source for cast-iron is often a yard sale where you can pick up pans for next to nothing. Since they are pretty much indesctructible, even a poorly maintained one can be brought back to life.
outside of overpriced specialty stores ie. Williams Sonoma, Benix et al. you should be able to find a quality cast iron in most department stores with a kitchenwares section ie The Bay, Canadian Tire, Winners etc. etc.
once you attain said cast iron pan make sure you grab some peoper techniques to season the pan before you cook with it. also take a great deal of good care in cleaning and storing it, in doing so you'll have a friend for life.
*Is kicking himself right in the a***
Thank you all for the responses -- I had written this but then saw the terrible weather here in Brampton and had to head out without waiting for a response, hoping I could beat rush hour (GOD was I wrong.. Anyone else enjoy 5km/hr driving due to traffic tonight?)
I ended up checking out a Canadian Tire at Heartland and it had a nice cast-iron pan, 12" , quite heavy but a good size and even claimed to be "pre-seasoned" (I didnt believe and still did it as per Mike's technique, I found almost identical instructions through google the night before)
Mike's advice would have proved invaluable to me, because I was using an ELECTRIC range, and the extreme temperatures burned our steaks on the outsides.
Luckily we sort of realised what was happening once we set the bloody smoke alarm off and promptly regulated the heat and managed to still keep some red on the inside of the steak
Lesson learned -- big time. We obviously overdid it with the original method of pre-heating it and putting it on an electric burner over MAX heat. Still enjoyed a nice dinner though including roasted asparagus and a baked potato with sour cream :)
I am bookmarking this thread :P
I find cast iron that just needs a little love at Value Village ALL THE TIME! For cheap! Or, I think Nella on Queen E has a bunch of sizes and grill style ones too.