Tried and true cast iron skillet still a kitchen favorite

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- At Norah in West Hollywood, Chef Mike Williams is prepping his signature cornbread that is cooked and served in cast iron skillets.

It's a really versatile and robust piece of cooking equipment. It gives a crust on the bottom of the cornbread specifically that we really like," said Williams.

While many think of using it for fried chicken, the cast iron pan is very versatile, and the skillet of choice for a host of reasons.

"There is a misconception that it heats more evenly than steel which isn't exactly true but it does keep heat hot for longer. You can make desserts in it you can sear fish or different types of meat in it. You can do a nice vegetable saute," Williams said.

Williams feels cast iron is front and center because of the resurgence in popularity of Southern cuisine. But no matter why, it's a pan that is easy to come by and pretty inexpensive.

And while it's sturdy, treat it with respect.

The chef says these skillets actually do come pre-seasoned, but if you want to make sure yours is in the best shape, you're going to need to wash it, then heat it, then oil it more than a few times.

"There is a process called seasoning which really entails getting oil really hot which causes it to polymerize which means it forms a sort of plastic coating and that creates kind of a non-stick surface," Williams said.

And yes, you can wash your cast iron. Wash, oil, wipe out extra liquid and the pan is good to go.

Pineapple upside-down cake to cornbread, Williams' skillets have held strong for years without fail.
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