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Mistake #1: Skipping the Seasoning
It may be tempting to put a brand new cast-iron pan straight to work on those crispy roast potatoes you've had your eye on—but first, determine which type of cast iron you're working with. If your pan is enameled (i.e., it's coated with shiny enamel), you're in the clear. But if it's a standard cast-iron pan (black bottomed and resembling a cauldron), seasoning is the only way to stop food from sticking to the pan—and foregoing the important step of seasoning first could result in those spuds sticking to the pan instead of developing a gorgeously crunchy crust. Megan Keno, author of Cast Iron Gourmet, shares one easy method: Rinse and dry the pan, set it over medium heat and rub about a tablespoon of vegetable oil into the pan and up the sides, using clean, wadded paper towels and tongs to coat the surface. Turn off the heat, let the pan cool and you're ready to cook.