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Seared Scallops in New Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

I bought a new cast iron skillet and seared scallops in it tonight. I usually use a stainless steel skillet and my scallops never stick. Tonight, the scallops stuck like crazy.

I've had a lodge cast iron grill pan for a few years and nothing ever sticks to it, which leads me to beleive that the new skillet just needs time and many more uses to become non-stick. But the lodge cookware comes pre-seasoned, so I just want to confirm that it wasn't my lousy cooking technique :-) I got the pan rip-roaring hot, but in a bit of bacon fat and some clarified butter, put them in, and didn't move them so that they would carmelize.

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  1. even though lodge says they're preseasoned, I still think you need to go through the seasoning routine and cook fatty foods in them for awhile

    1 Reply
    1. re: chuckl

      Yeah, ATK made the same comment when they tested cast iron. The preseason is just a head start.

    2. Pre-seasoned, but not actually pre-seasoned... You still need to work in the pan, before it builds up that non-stick coating.

      I am so glad that I inherited a stack of my grandmothers cast iron, it has about 60 years of 'pre-seasoning'.

      1. When we got ours I used it to cook bacon, fry chicken and fish, make some burgers. All were fairly greasy and the skillet has been perfect ever since. They may be "pre-seasoned" but they can use just a little bit of help to become perfect.

        1. preaseasoned =/= seasoned.

          It's just like preseason football games are not the same as regular season games.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Thanks for the responses. After making the scallops last night, I brushed the pan with peanut oil and put it in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours. Maybe that wasn't the best because the peanut oil got sticky and brown instead of black and carbonized. However, I fried an egg with butter in the pan this morning, which in my mind is the true test of non-stick, and after a tiny bit of proding, the egg slid around the pan like teflon.

            I think that the pan is getting there and after several more times cooking with fat, it should be seasoned enough to be truly non-stick.

            Now I have to figure out the best way to clean it. On my grill pan, I usually put a bit of water in it, heat it up, scrape off the stuck on bits, dry it with a paper towel, put some salt in the pan and scrub it a bit more and it is usually very clean that way. My wife doesn't love the idea of not using soap, but I asked her if she has ever been sick from my cooking and after thinking about it for a minute, she didn't have more to say about the soap thing.

            By the way, paper towel is not the best thing to dry out the pan with. I always get bits of lint from the towel all over the pan.

            1. re: acd123

              300 for peanut oil is too low. if it gets sticky, you need a higher temperature.

              1. re: acd123

                Your method of cleaning your grill pan is exactly the same way I clean my cast iron skillet. Sometimes instead of a paper towel I use a light touch with a scotchbrite scouring pad with the salt if it's very dirty. Then wipe until the white paper towel comes away clean. I have not had problems with lint from the paper towels. Try high quality towels like Bounty.

                1. re: taos

                  Thanks for the tips. The paper towel comes away clean? When I wipe my pan, the paper towel always comes away with a little bit brown. I thought that was just a bit of the seasoning. Should I be scrubbing it harder until the paper towel is perfectly white?

                  1. re: acd123

                    you want it to be clean but it doesn't have to be perfectly white.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                Good analogy with pre-season football :-)

                1. re: acd123

                  disagree. That's a great analogy

                  1. re: chuckl

                    Yeah, that was right on. Pithy and accurate; doesn't get better than that. I'm stealing it directly.

              3. Just needs time and more general cooking seasoning. Pre seasoned pans I stay away from. My pans a generic, run of the mill, but I cook some greasy food first for a month or so ... and the longer the better. Never had a problem
                I still don't use for pancakes, etc. But I wouldn't trade mine for anything. Patience

                1 Reply
                1. re: kchurchill5

                  That sounds like great advice. Thanks.

                2. I always do scallops in nonstick -- anything else is a crapshoot.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: pikawicca

                    I respectfully disagree. I think cast iron is a fine pan for searing scallops, i might go with copper as a better conductor, given the choice. non-stick would be close to my last option

                    1. re: chuckl

                      I use my stainless for seafood, cast iron for longer term cooking, pork roasts and my steaks, bacon etc. But honestly, I interchange. Seafood is usually always stainless

                    2. re: pikawicca

                      For me it completely depends on how much time I want to spend paying attention to them. I'll use non-stick or my stainless pans pretty often. I rarely use my cast iron but that's got more to do with not wanting to spend the extra few minutes preheating the pan and the extra few minutes cleaning the pan than anything else. Scallops are normally a part of a quick meal for us (quick to prepare that is, we tend to linger over scallops as we both quite enjoy them) so even though it's not burdensome work to use the cast iron, I don't often pick it as time is a consideration for those meals.

                      Other posters have noted the ideas I use to prep a cast iron skillet: fried chicken and (in lieu of bacon) duck breasts will season a pan quite well while turning out delicious food.

                      1. re: ccbweb

                        Duck in a wonder way and pretty good eats as well.

                      2. re: pikawicca

                        You and I are in agreement on the non-stick. I did dry diver scallops night before last in my Swiss Diamond made a sauce Maltaise but used Meyer Lemons instead of orange. Outstanding!

                        Going to the market this AM?