Experiment over an open fire or just light your outdoor grill to create tasty meals using heavy-duty bare cast iron cookware. Perfect for hosting a casual dinner around the campfire or on the patio, meats and vegetables can be deep fried, sautéed, braised, steamed and even roasted to delectable perfection with minimal cleanup.
A Bit of History
Bare cast iron, used for centuries to fashion cooking vessels, is renowned for excellent heat distribution and retention. In fact, even though there are only a few surviving companies that still manufacture this type of cookware, aged, but quite functional bare cast iron pans are found in many households today. This wealth of traditional cookware attests to the strength and time-honored durability of a product that is capable of lasting virtually forever if given the proper care. The recent resurgence of cast iron cooking among popular chefs is yet another testament to the excellent qualities cast iron has to offer.
Tips on Seasoning
Before using a bare cast iron pot or skillet for the first time, it must be properly prepared for cooking. Often referred to as seasoning, this process coats the pan, promotes a non-stick surface and deters rust. Simply saturate a paper towel with shortening or vegetable oil and generously rub into all cast iron surfaces, including the outside and bottom areas. Repeat this process with the lid as well. Allow the pan to sit on a warm (not hot) stovetop burner or a 300°F oven for about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat, allow it to cool and wipe out any excess oil. The pan is now prepared for use. The next time you cook with this cast iron piece, repeat the seasoning process and several times thereafter until the pan is saturated enough to retain oils between uses.
This delicious recipe uses a bare cast iron skillet and can be adapted for outdoor grilling or an open fire.
SWEET CORN FRITTERS
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cooking time 20 minutes
- Servings: 12Ingredients
- 3 ears fresh corn (cooked or raw) OR a 12 ounce can whole kernel corn
- 2-3 cups cooking oil
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Confectioner sugar to taste
- Cut fresh corn from the ears or drain the can of whole kernel corn. Place a 2-inch deep cast iron skillet 6 inches above red-hot glowing embers (not flames) or on a grill set at medium heat. Add cooking oil to skillet and heat through. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. In a small bowl, beat egg, milk and butter together and combine with dry mixture. Add corn. Drop by tablespoon into hot oil and cover. Fry until fritters float, about 10 minutes. Turn over and fry until golden, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove fritters to paper towels to drain. Pour confectioner sugar into a flour sifter or wire strainer and dust onto hot fritters. Serve immediately.
Clean up is a snap when using cast iron cookware. To remove cooked on food particles, fill the pan with water and heat to a rolling boil. Allow the cookware to cool down enough to handle. Remove water and simply wipe out any remaining residue with a clean cloth or paper towel, leaving a light film of oil. If there does not appear to be any oily residue, refer to the previous seasoning tips. Following these steps will eliminate rust until the next use and keep the pan in excellent condition for future generations.
To prevent rust, never allow bare cast iron to soak in water. Never use soaps or wash cast iron in the dishwasher as this also promotes rust and ruins the seasoning.