Cast iron needs to be properly "seasoned" in order for it to be non-stick, and to cook well. When you purchase a new pan, it has not been seasoned. The "seasoning" process is very easy. You simply scrub the pot or pan with a steel wool pad to remove its factory-applied protectant coating, then wash with mild, soapy water. Apply a thick layer of vegetable oil with a paper towel, then place in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours.
A little bit of special care must be taken after each use. Again, clean with hot, soapy water. Never let your cast iron sit in water for long periods of time as this will promote rust, and the seasoning process will have to be repeated. Once the pan has been washed, dry it off and place it back onto a medium high burner so it dries completely. Then, remove and allow to cool and
re-coat with vegetable oil, making sure both sides of the pan are well coated.
So what did I conjure up in my beloved skillet?
I am going to share with you part of the brunch I prepared for Valentine's morning.
I fixed a Ham, Bacon and Leek Frittata. Next week...I will share the other half...a Strawberry Banana Breakfast Pie with Hazelnut Cream Sauce.
So, what is a frittata? It's an egg dish with cooked ingredients that is baked in the oven. I rarely use a recipe. I just use whatever ingredients I have on hand. I love smoked salmon with a dill sauce. One of my fave frittatas is when I use steak and baked potato from the previous night's leftovers from the local Steakhouse. Any kind of sauteed veggie works, and meat is optional.
Leeks are one of my favorite and most used vegetables. I love the mild onion flavor. I used the ends only of two medium sized leeks. But before slicing the leeks, make sure you clean them well, as they tend to be very sandy.
To clean the leeks, you simply cut them lengthwise, open them up under running water and allow the water to run between the layers to remove any sand.
Then, simply slice them thinly. Again, there is no set amount. I used about a cup of sliced leeks.
I also used ingredients from one of my favorite food groups - the ham/bacon group. :-D
I hate to break the news to Paula Dean who is a spokesperson for Smithfield's Ham, but I am a fan of John Morrell products. I also like to use a thick-cut bacon. I used about a cup of chunky-cut ham, and 3 slices of bacon. Use more or less bacon and ham, as desired.
I cooked the leeks and bacon together on medium heat. While they were cooking, I diced some cherry tomatoes.
About a cup of sliced tomatoes will do. I know this sounds like a lot of added ingredients, but keep in mind all your veggies will cook down.
Once the leeks and bacon were cooked, I tossed in the tomatoes and allowed to cook through slightly, and also I tossed in the ham to allow it to heat through. Next I prepared the egg mixture.
I used about 8 eggs. You can adjust this amount according to the size of your pan. If you pour your egg mixture in and find you don't have enough, simply beat some more eggs and add it in.
Here is a good hint when you are breaking eggs.
(I think Martha calls it..."a good thing" LOL)
I never crack an egg and drop it into the other ingredients directly. I crack it into a separate container first. This allows me to make sure the egg is usable - or pick out any eggshell ;-) - without compromising the other ingredients.
I added about 1/4 cup of cream....
...and about 1 tsp each of basil, oregano and dill. I just grabbed some spices...no rhyme or reason. Don't forget the salt and pepper.
While the frittata was still hot, I topped it with the remaining 1/3 of swiss cheese. See how poofy the frittata is? That's another "good thing." :-)
I served the frittata with heart shaped toast (hey - it was Valentine's day) which Cole thought was the funniest thing. The black and white damask plate you see above is part of a recent purchase at Marshall's. I found an almost identical tablecloth a few days ago. I used one of my green Bordallo majolica cabbage plates.
I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 of Iron Skillet Cooking. If you have never cooked with cast iron, I highly recommend it. I have left out the best part of why cooking with cast iron is so good.....not to even mention the almost perfect heat distribution.
There is the added benefit of iron that seeps into the food during the cooking process. And who doesn't need a dose of daily iron? Some experts will say that one meal cooked in a cast iron skillet will provide you with a daily amount of needed iron. While I am not sure if that is totally correct, I will say that I love cooking with this durable, natural cookery. Give it a try...and let me know what you think. I look forward to sharing Part II with you next week.
What's on Your Table? Wanna share? Email me or leave me a message and I will link to your post.
Check out Suzanne@Southern Inspiration's Yummy Carrot Cake....it looks and sounds divine!
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I can't wait to see everyone's post. I am excited that WOYWW is back!
Make It a Great Day......Barb