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New Le Creuset cast iron skillet and grill pans - how to prep?

I"ve just purchased my very first cast iron skillet and grill pan. I'm so excited I might pass out! :)
Just wondering if I am supposed to prep them (season them?) with oil or anything. I forgot to ask at the store. Any other tips/advice/suggestions about caring for them?
Thanks in advance.
Also, has anyone had problems using the enameled cast iron on smoothtop ranges? I bought the enameled pans thinking that that way it wouldn't scratch the glass top.

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  1. Follow the use and care information that comes with the cookware. No seasoning for enameled cookware. Cast iron pans are not recommended on cooktops but many people use them. Enameling will not prevent damage to the cooktop.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      "Cast iron pans are not recommended on cooktops "

      You mean smooth cooktops.

      1. As greygarious wrote, no prepping necessary for enameled cast iron. Well, beyond washing it once you get it home from the store. I have a glass cook top and I use every type of pot or pan known to man on it, including naked cast iron, enameled cast iron, aluminum, anodized aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and glass. Oh, and on occasion, my wok. To date. nothing has scratched my cook top. But all manufacturers do not use the same material for their cook tops. Some scratches more easily than others. For the record, my cook top is a 30" GE Profile.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          Caroline,

          I think the color of the cooktop matters. I read a person complained about his/her glossy black smooth cooktop because scratches are easily revealed, whereas as a white cooktop hides the scratches. Technically, they have the same amount of scratches, but one shows and the other not.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Well, my cook top is black... Look, Ma, NO Scratches...! '-)

            I have another black cook top in the garage that I replaced because it has knobs instead of electronic touch panels, and was a pain to clean around the knobs. It's NOT a GE (I'm too lazy to go to the garage to see what brand it is) and it too is scratch free. However, I had a third brand of smooth black glass cook top in El Paso, five years ago before moving here, and that sucker scratched when you wiped it down with a paper towel and Windex! It depends entirely on the chemical composition and melting temperature that the black glass was formed under. Maybe with time, all brands have improved. The cook top in El Paso wasn't exactly the latest thing in cutting edge technology.

        2. I agree with grey and caroline. Not seasoning is needed for enameled cast iron cookware. It they are bare cast iron, like Lodge Logic, then sure.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Nothing needed. I do rub a little cooking oil on the bare metal thin edge at the top to prevent rust. This is probably quite unnecessary! I do the same with the casserole and lid.

          2. I have both these Le Creuset items along with an omelet pan. Mine are not enameled and when they were new did not require seasoning really. The texture of the cooking surface is different somehow from my Griswold iron. IIRC I started mine with a load of bacon just to be sure. I wash them the same way as cast iron: no or just a drop of dish soap depending on how dirty they are, rinse and wipe, place on a warm burner to completely dry, and then spritz of oil, wipe with a paper towel and store.

            9 Replies
            1. re: morwen

              Side note: Whenever I've seen the Le Creuset omelet pan, I've wondered how one could possibly use it with the classical Julia Child technique, where a soft, luscious omelet is produced by cooking the eggs at a very high temperature for 20-30 seconds while shaking vigorously back-and-forth or (in my variation) round-and-round. It takes a really violent motion. Isn't the LC pan too heavy to manhandle that way, unless you're Paul Bunyan? And isn't it also much too heavy to allow for folding the omelet into three layers merely by flipping the edge of the pan to put down the second layer and then turning it over the plate to make the third? I assume you'd have to cheat a bit with a fork or other utensil.

              1. re: Harry Niletti

                I would never use cast iron, enameled or bare, for an omelet. I have two fantastic omelet pans of very thick highly polished aluminum (with walnut handles) and they make great omelets. But anyone who ever puts water in them will be dead in a blink of an eye! I clean them with salt while they're hot. I do not like non-stick pans for omelets, despite Julia's preference. In time, they wear into a rough texture an the omelets begin to stick. However!!! There *IS* one non-stick pan made in Switzerland, and the nonstick surface is made with diamonds. Impervious to metal utensils and all sorts of abuse! (Or so the mfr says) It's about $80.00 or so for the omelet pan, and I am thinking about it... Thinking, mind you, not acting. I do like my very thick aluminum! The difference between aluminum and cast iron is the aluminum heats and cools much faster than cast iron, giving the cook much more control.

                1. re: Caroline1

                  Caroline,
                  I have had a Swiss Diamond pan for three years now that I use for omelets, and I love it, it has held up very well. Though I don't usually use metal implements on it. I found mine at a discount, but list price is not outlandish.

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    You are not talking about Swiss Diamond cookware, right? There appears to be some levels of complaints of them

                    http://www.swissdiamond.com/

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Yes, of course. I related my experience, which has been good. What have been the complaints that I have not experienced? I'm sure every product on the market has its critics.

                      1. re: Dan D

                        Dan,

                        The above comment is actually for Caroline. I were not sure if she was talking about Swiss Diamond.

                        I don't own Swiss Diamond, but I read some complaints on various forum. Like most nonstick cookware, the complaints are about them losing their nonstick ability quickly.

                  2. re: Harry Niletti

                    My omelet pan weighs 2 lbs, 12 oz, is 6" wide at the base and curves up to 8" wide at the top. It probably does weigh more than the standard omelet pan but I wouldn't know since it's the one I learned on when I decided to become really good at omelets. The eggs slide easily in it and I only flip one fold in the pan since the third fold is a result of rolling the omelet on to the plate. No extra tools necessary, except possibly some tweaking on the plate and we've all seen Julia do that.. How often do I make omelets? Probably a minimum of 14 a week. I run a 2 suite B&B.

                    1. re: morwen

                      I need to stop by our local Le Creuset outlet and try to find that omelet pan again. The one I used to see a couple of years ago had to weigh more than you describe, so perhaps they have multiple products. I don't have your experience, but when I'm not traveling, I've probably made, on average, 2-4 omelets a week for years. So I naturally have a collection of omelet pans -- aluminum, carbon steel, non-stick/full-stick, tri-ply coated with spear-caught cubic zirconium, etc. (Just kidding about that last one. ;-) They're all substantial in the hand but nothing like that LC I hefted at the store.

                      1. re: Harry Niletti

                        The one I have came with a set my husband ordered online about 7 years ago to augment the Le Creuset pieces I already had. It serves a dual purpose as the lid for one of the pots although I never use it in that capacity.
                        I just realized that, except for my giant stock pot and bake ware (and some of that is iron too), all of my cookware is cast iron, either Griswold (which I snap up at flea markets and yard sales) or Le Creuset. That might explain the forearm and wrist strength. I don't think I've used other cookware materials since I stopped working in professional kitchens. Not on purpose, just happened.
                        That spear-caught cubic zirconium probably goes well with items made from the hide of the rare and unique Nauga!

                2. When I bought my grill pan a few months ago, I asked the manager outright about all the problems I had heard about cleaning the pan. He said that he often has customers complain about the pan cleaning and it is attributable to 3 very important points that he says people overlook when reading the care and use:
                  1- Don't use it at high heat, Medium is as high as the Grill Pan needs to be used. Do the water droplet test, if it sizzles up right away, it's too hot. (there's info about this on the website)
                  2-Don't use it with Olive Oil! Olive Oil's smoke point is too low and it will be a mess. I use grapeseed oil instead, and don't over oil it or it will be sticky when it cools.
                  3-Don't wash it with a grease cutting soap like Dawn. The manager said they are instructed to tell customers to specifically use Ivory dish soap. Apparently, even though it is enameled, a little bit of residual oil is necessary for keeping foods from sticking, so it does kind of have to be seasoned, but not in the same way that untreaded Cast Iron does.

                  I have the skillet too, but I don't cook eggs in it. I have one small nonstick pan that I only use for eggs, nothing else. It's just not worth it to me to deal with eggs in any other kind of pan. Maybe if I used a lot of butter, but I don't.