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3 incredible dishes to cook in a cast iron skillet

Lauren Booker


3 incredible dishes to cook in a cast iron skillet

Maintaining a good patina is vital for the extended life of your cast iron skillet. Fortunately, the best way to develop continued seasoning is by constant use.

With a heavy bottom that retains heat, cast iron is perfect for achieving a deep, caramelized crust on anything from meats and fish to breads and desserts. Whether your cast iron skillet is a treasured heirloom or a newer model that needs some usage, there's a good chance you’re not fully exhausting its capabilities or letting it live up to its potential. These three delicious recipes will help change that -- try them out in your cast iron skillet today.

Cast Iron Seared Burgers
As a lover of the classic diner-style cheeseburger, I reach for cast iron anytime the burger cravings hit me. This burger seems very simple, but the devil is in the details. When making your “secret sauce,” a thousand island facsimile, make sure you spread the sauce on both the top and bottom buns, covering the entire inner surface. Place a lid on your pan to expedite melting the cheese on top of your burgers. Finally, only press them immediately before and after flipping so the burger stays juicy throughout the cooking process.
Get the recipe here

Cast Iron Seared Asparagus with Lemon Tarragon Mayo
While grilled asparagus may be more common, don’t forget about your cast iron skillet if you like a deep, delicious browning on yours. Look for standard or jumbo asparagus (as opposed to the thin pencil asparagus) and peel them before cooking. You’ll remove some of the fibrous skin and add a better mouthfeel to your finished dish. Be sure not to move them too much in the hot pan; you want them to properly caramelize. And feel free to make your own mayo from scratch if you wish; we just happen to love Duke’s. The bright lemon and anise notes from the tarragon brighten up the mayo and complement the asparagus beautifully.
Get the recipe here

Cast Iron Grilled Chicken Thighs with Alabama White BBQ Sauce
If you happen to own a cast iron grill pan, this dish would be the perfect application; however, it’s equally delicious out of a skillet. You can also cut the cooking time in half by using boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of a bone-in thigh. Developed in Decatur, Alabama, with a mayonnaise base, white BBQ sauce has more in common with cole slaw dressing than traditional BBQ sauce, so you'll want to avoid cooking it. Just a drizzle at the end should be all you need.
Get the recipe here

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Chef Jeffrey Gardner is a native of Natchez, Miss., and a graduate of Millsaps College and Johnson & Wales University. He lives in Atlanta and has served as sous chef for popular restaurants South City Kitchen Midtown and Alma Cocina. In 2013 he became executive chef for East Cobb restaurant Common Quarter and was named one of ten “Next Generation of Chefs to Watch” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. He has appeared on TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped and Cooking Channel’s How to Live to 100, and also filmed a series of healthy cooking videos with retired pro wrestler and fitness guru Diamond Dallas Page. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling the world with his wife Wendy, watching game shows and “spending all his money on Bruce Springsteen concerts.”