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Cast Iron Skillet + Broiler = Perfect Pizza?

ipsedixit Jan 25, 2010 07:33 PM

Has anyone tried the recipe / technique below?

Preheating a cast iron skillet on the stove top, then cooking your pizza in the preheated skillet in the broiler.

I'd try it but my broiler is currently out of commission.

Read about it here: http://food.theatlantic.com/recipes/r...

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  1. TSAW RE: ipsedixit Jan 25, 2010 08:07 PM

    I saw a cooking show on BBC called In Search of Perfection. The host used this technique but he flipped the cast iron over, after it was heated on the burner. I tried it and it worked very, very well. It did get the temperature up to what you need for a pizza. When you heat the pan on the burner, you get a little worried that it's too hot. It's not. When you put it under the broiler, watch it carefully as it cooks in about 5 mins. I used a 16 inch cast iron for a 12 inch pizza. It did however, produce a lightly browned bubbly cheese. Almost like a light cheese crust on top, if you like that kind of pizza. The only trouble is transferring the topped pizza from the cutting board to the hot pan bottom - you need two people to do this right.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TSAW
      yakitat jack RE: TSAW Jan 25, 2010 09:20 PM

      Great idea, but preheat your cast iron pan in the oven. The uneven heat on the stove top may crack or warp when heated dry.

      1. re: yakitat jack
        TSAW RE: yakitat jack Jan 26, 2010 07:02 AM

        I don't think cast iron will crack or warp when heated dry. I do it all the time for searing roasts etc.. Just dry heat the pan and oil the meat. I have a ceramic top stove. Maybe that makes a difference?
        If you heat the pan the oven I don't think it ever gets to the high temp. required for pizza.

        Love the naan idea! might try that next.

    2. TongoRad RE: ipsedixit Jan 26, 2010 04:09 AM

      This is a very good way to make naan at home- the dough gets a really good spring to it and you can get some nice char if you're careful ( I think I got the idea from Madhur Jaffrey, way back when...). I always thought that the technique would work for pizza, but haven't gotten around to putting it to the test. It's good to see that somebody has had success with it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: TongoRad
        l
        lulou23 RE: TongoRad Jan 28, 2010 09:06 PM

        Ooh, great idea, I am constantly buying naan at the grocery store to make a garlic crusted flatbread like I used to get at my fav Italian restaurant. Do you have a good recipe for naan on the cast iron skillet?

        1. re: lulou23
          TongoRad RE: lulou23 Feb 2, 2010 04:29 AM

          I have been using Madhur Jaffrey's recipe from the Indian Cooking book. This recipe I found online seems like the same thing, the only difference is that I have been heating up my pan on the stovetop instead of the oven, though preheating it is definitely the key:
          http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/534227

        2. re: TongoRad
          TongoRad RE: TongoRad Feb 11, 2010 03:53 AM

          I tried a variation of this technique for pizza yesterday, and I was really pleased with the results. The only difference was that I (very quickly) assembled the pizza in the hot pan itself before putting it under the broiler, rather than trying to slide it in there. I got more char on the top of the pizza than on the bottom, but that could be rectified next time by moving the oven rack down a notch. These were personal size pies, about the size of a dinner plate, and were done in just a couple of minutes, so my wife and I were essentially eating at the same time. I am definitely going to do this again and try to refine the procedure for my setup.

        3. todao RE: ipsedixit Jan 26, 2010 07:24 AM

          There are a number of professional pizza restaurants that use a similar technique for preparing a deep dish pizza cast iron skillet, but they don't complicate the process that much. The pizza making procedure described on the link looks pretty "iffy" and, for the results, it doesn't look to me like it'd be worth the effort.
          IMO, Naan yes; pizza no.

          1. w
            white light RE: ipsedixit Jan 26, 2010 01:18 PM

            There's some similar discussion in this thread:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/638025

            1. n
              NWKate RE: ipsedixit Jan 26, 2010 05:24 PM

              yet another great idea to try! I love my cast iron skillets and have not seen the need to replace my grill since I can broil with no loss of flavor or texture- I'll have to report back on this one.

              1. ChristinaMason RE: ipsedixit Feb 2, 2010 10:06 AM

                A friend of mine tried this technique last year and was raving about the results. Since you can only cook one at a time, she said it's kind of an eat-as-you-go method.

                1. p
                  penandra RE: ipsedixit Mar 9, 2010 01:18 PM

                  This is my preferred method for making pizza . . . as someone else shared, it does mean that you only make one pizza at a time, but since I'm single, it's fine for me . . . I make a big batch of dough and proof it in the fridge overnight. Then cut the dough into six balls, 1 to use that evening, 1 for later in the week (because I WILL want some later in the week having whetted my appetite! ;-) and the rest get an oil rub, dropped into ziplock bags and go into the freezer. I have a cast iron griddle that I use (rather than the bottom of my large cast iron skillet) I turn on the broiler and preheat the griddle on top of the stove, form the pizza, and prep my toppings. Then I slide the naked pizza onto the griddle and slide it under the broiler for 1 minute, pull it out, quickly dress it, and slide it back under the broiler for another minute or two. Let it rest for 3 minutes (while I clean up the ktichen) slide it onto a dinner plate, cut it up and enjoy! The best pizza ever!

                  1. ipsedixit RE: ipsedixit Mar 12, 2010 12:23 PM

                    I finally got my broiler to work, and the pizza turned out fabulous.

                    Because I was so enthused with the pizza, I tried the same technique with cornbread. And you know what? It was freaking fabulous! I think I just found the best way to "bake" cornbread.

                    I'm not sure why I never thought of making cornbread this way before.

                    It beats preheating the skillet in the oven and then baking the batter.

                    Sizzling hot skillet + "baked" under a broiler = crispy, crunchy crust (and top) with a moist and creamy center.

                    1. chowser RE: ipsedixit Mar 12, 2010 01:28 PM

                      This was just in the Washington Post this week:

                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

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