cover image Cook It in Cast Iron

Cook It in Cast Iron

The editors at Cook’s Country. America’s Test Kitchen, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-940352-48-0

The editors of Cook’s Country undertake a comprehensive exploration of the classic cast iron skillet, as well as the panoply of meals it can provide. Ten different skillets are evaluated by their expert staff, who also offer instructions on proper care and maintenance, plus a list of cast iron myths that they have effectively busted (yes, it’s okay to use a couple of drops of dish soap on a well-seasoned pan). Eight chapters of recipes showcase the flexibility of using cast iron, both on the stove top and in the oven or broiler. It replaces the deep fryer in a fried chicken recipe that requires only one-third of the amount of oil normally required. It mocks a panini press if a heavy Dutch oven is set on top of the sandwich as it cooks. It works like a pizza stone for a crisp and, of course, perfectly rounded margherita pie. And it even serves as a fondue pot in a recipe that employs beer, cheddar, and a dash of cayenne. Cast iron retains heat better than aluminum or stainless steel, so the loaded beef nachos stay hot when served straight from the skillet. A chapter on searing shows how to put the proper char on scallops and cowboy steaks, and the bread and biscuit recipes will encourage readers to leave the bread maker on its shelf. (Feb.)