Celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman shares his favorite cast-iron items, plus how to season, clean, and care for them. From Italian, My Way: More Than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life Into Italian Classics.
I adore my plain, ugly 8-inch griddle at home; the reverse side has a good ersatz grill. I have the world’s greatest cast-iron pan. It comes from Finland. It has a cool-to-the-touch handle, weighs a ton, is perfectly flat and cooks beautifully. It was very expensive but will last three lifetimes. I use the black French iron pans for sautéing and the heavy enamel LeCreuset casserole for long braises and stews.
Cleaning cast iron is a bit tricky. If you burn something or forget to clean it right away, it takes some serious effort to clean, but refrain from using soap or cleanser. Hot water and one of those green scrubbing pads work well. I always put a couple inches of water in the pan after cooking and bring it to a boil, which also aids in the cleaning process.
Nothing cooks a pork chop better than an old Lodge 12-inch well-seasoned, cast-iron pan! To season the pan, mix 1 cup of oil (any kind) with 1 cup of coarse salt in the pan and bake it for 2 hours in a 350° oven. Let cool; wipe the pan clean and use.