Cast iron is perhaps the most durable of all pans. Clichés can often be overused, but cast iron really does earn its reputation as the ‘workhorse of the kitchen’. Whilst you can get a variety of cast iron pans, this piece will look at griddle pans, or grill pans, depending on your vernacular. We’ve put together a list of our FAQs to help solve the enigma of the cast iron grill pan!
What is a griddle pan?
Essentially, griddle pans are heavy, square-shaped frying pans. However, there is one small difference – they’re infinitely superior. There’s a common misconception that grill plates can only be used to fry steaks. Whilst it does indeed cook an outstanding steak, it can be used on a variety of other meat and vegetables.
Why should I get a griddle?
Grill pans work best at high temperatures and, because of the thick base, they are excellent at conducting heat. This cooks your food incredibly fast which is perfect for meats which need hard searing. But it would be wrong to think of the griddle as a mere one trick pony, only capable of blasting thick lumps of steak (although it does do this superbly, as this video will attest). A grill pan has many of the same characteristics as a wok and allows you to cook a variety of vegetables, rice and meat.
The raised, parallel ridges drains the excess fat to drain from the food, and allows the food to cook in dry heat. This makes it a much healthier option that the standard frying pan.
How do I look after my grill pan?
Giving your griddle a little TLC begins as soon as you’ve unwrapped your new prized possession! The first thing you will want to do is wash the grill pan in warm, slightly soapy water using a non-metallic sponge (this is the only time you’ll ever wash your pan in soap – we’ll cover this later). Clean your pan immediately with a tea towel or kitchen roll. Never, under any circumstances, allow your griddle to drip dry. This in the primary cause of rust.
Next, use a kitchen roll to cover your pan in vegetable oil, inside and out. Cover the bottom of your oven in tin foil and put your oil-smeared pan in the oven at 176C/350F and leave for one hour. This will season your pan and help protect it and its non-stick properties.
Periodically, your pan will require seasoning once again – fortunately, you won’t have to cook it again!
How do I wash my pan?
As mentioned, you should only wash your pan in soapy water for its initial clean. Subsequently, water and a non-metallic scouring pad should be used. If this isn’t sufficient, then rub down with kosher salt using a kitchen towel, and scrub in water once more.
Again, never allow to drip dry. If you want your pan to be a workhorse, then you need to treat it like an Olympic winning dressage-horse!