I love my Lodge cast iron skillets. They can be used to cook, or bake, just about anything. I just watched David Lebovitz make a tarte tatin in his. Some of you may be using a treasured old pan of your mother's or grandmother's, one that's been seasoned from years of good cooking. If not, a new one can be seasoned by following these simple instructions. I have two skillets; one large, one medium and a medium sized griddle. I use them regularly to bake fish, roast vegetables and potatoes, cook mini pizzas, bake cornbread, or a rustic apple cake. Last night I sauteed New Zealand lamb chops in the large skillet and served them with sauteed cherry tomatoes and broccoli. Cast iron heats evenly and holds the heat nicely so the chops cooked pretty quickly over medium to low heat.
Greek-Style Skillet Lamb Chops
1 rack of lamb cut into chops (New Zealand or Australian)
2 sprigs of rosemary (removed from the woody stem)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sprinkle the chops with salt and allow them to come to room temperature before cooking. This keeps the meat tender and moist throughout the cooking process. Melt the butter and add the olive oil. When it's hot and just starts to bubble, add the garlic, rosemary and lemon and saute just until the garlic starts to brown.
Lay the lamb chops in the pan and saute over medium to low heat for about 8 minutes on each side which should result in a medium rare chop. Cooking them slowly allows them to absorb the flavor of garlic, lemon and rosemary.
When they're cooked to your liking, place them on a platter and drizzle with some of the pan juices. Let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
Sauteed Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes
Cut broccoli into florets and steam for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and cool in an ice bath for a few minutes. Drain well. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat. When hot, add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the broccoli and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes, or until the broccoli is heated through. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with your favorite grated cheese.
You can read up on the health benefits of cooking with cast iron. They're one of the least expensive pans you can buy, and one of the safest with which to cook. You can order them on-line, or keep an eye out for them in TJ Maxx or Marshalls as they frequently make an appearance in the kitchen department at both stores. For a rustic feel, bring the pans right to the table and be sure to have a little bread on hand to sop up the pan drippings. Delicious!