6 Recipes That Prove How Amazing Your Cast-Iron Skillet Is
Baked pastas, succulent chicken, cookies—is there anything this pan can't do?
A White-Meat Dish That'll Convince Skeptics
While we almost always choose dark meat for its flavor and lower likelihood of drying out, this recipe, from Athena Calderone's Cook Beautiful
, shows that breast meat can be equally delicious, remaining moist with rich flavor. The not-so-secret weapon? A cast-iron skillet
, which retains heat evenly, is practically nonstick when seasoned and transfers from the stovetop to the oven with ease. The other tools to making this tasty dish are both expected (Herbs? Check. White wine? Check.) and surprising (pitted Medjool dates, smashed and pitted green olives and a splash of apple-cider vinegar, which together infuse the chicken with a salty, sweet and tart punch).
Get the recipe: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Shallots and Dates
The Smartest Way to Get Golden-Brown Potatoes
This method for making crispy roast potatoes could not be easier, since a hot cast-iron skillet truly does all the work for you. The trick is to slide the pan into the oven and then preheat it to 350 degrees; so, as the oven warms, so does the pan. Carefully remove the pan, gently add quartered red potatoes, chopped onion, rosemary, salt and pepper and slide it back into the oven for 45 minutes. The spuds will be as crunchy as if you'd fried them, without any of the mess.
Get the recipe: Cast-Iron Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Onion
A Truly One-Pan Mac 'n' Cheese
If you've got a cast-iron skillet handy, there's no need to boil the pasta in one pot and then transfer it to a casserole dish to bake with the cheese. This groundbreaking recipe has you sauté onion and Swiss chard in the pan, make a roux and add smoked Gouda to make a sauce. In goes vegetable broth and elbow macaroni, and you transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pasta is tender. The completed dish is wonderfully cheesy, with an earthy balance from the hearty greens.
Get the recipe: Mac 'n' Smoked Gouda with Swiss Chard and Horseradish Crumbs
A Midweek Mediterranean Masterpiece
Subtly sweet-tasting shrimp and tangy feta are such a natural match that you don't need to do much to make them taste great together. All you really need to turn the duo into a hearty meal, aside from some tomato sauce and flavor boosters (onion, garlic and oregano)? A cast-iron skillet, so you can start on the stove and finish in a hot oven. Just be sure to have some crusty bread on hand, to sop up the juices from this delicious supper with sunny Greek vibes.
Get the recipe: 20-Minute Skillet-Baked Shrimp and Feta
Photo: Joe Keller/Keller + Keller
An Italian Classic with Incredible Flavor
A cast-iron skillet is the secret to turning a pound-and-a-half of grape tomatoes into a deep, pleasantly charred-tasting pasta sauce that takes this baked ziti to a new level. And, as with the mac 'n' cheese, the ziti cooks right in the sauce, so you don't need an extra pot. At the end, add mozzarella and Parmesan and slide the skillet under the broiler for five minutes, until the cheeses are browned and bubbling.
Get the recipe: Baked Ziti with Charred Tomatoes
The Makeover You Never Even Realized Chocolate Chip Cookies Needed
This brilliant recipe shows us how the workhorse skillet can work its magic on the humble chocolate chip cookie. Turns out a long, slow bake in cast iron causes the edges and bottom of the cookie to caramelize. It's thick and chewy, especially at the center. And the sheer size of this treat (more than nine inches in diameter and an inch high!), with a surface speckled with chips and add-ins (try coconut and apricots), makes it one of the most stunning versions of the classic we've ever seen.
Get the recipe: Cast-Iron Pan Chocolate-Chip-Cookie Bars