Monday, March 02, 2009

Reseasoning a skillet

I've had a bare spot on my cast iron egg skillet for some weeks. It all started when my son broke my egg-making rule: Never cook anything but eggs in an egg pan.

Since that time, a 2-inch round hole in the seasoning has plagued my omelets. A vigorous scrub was the only way to clean cooked-on egg and cheese from the skillet.

Despite my attempts to nurse the wound back to health, the spot grew. Each time I made an omelet for my son, the egg tore and cheese leaked onto the cast iron surface.

While scrubbing with a green pad seemed the best way to removed the cooked-on cheese, it only made the problem worse.

I though of a fix this morning while cooking my son's second favorite omelet (cheddar cheese--his first is pepper jack). After cleaning the skillet, I spread a light coat of oil on the skillet baked it on a medium-hot electric burner.

I wiped the skillet with a clean paper towel every 10 minutes over the next hour. And to keep from burning the seasoning off, I turned the burner down to medium-low (a setting of 3 to 4 on my dial) after about 15 minutes.

My strategy worked ... partway, at least! I cooked a cheddar-broccoli omelet (with a sprinkle of Old Bay) after the skillet cooked for an hour. The egg stuck to the pan, but came free after a gentle nudge with a rubber high-temp spatula.

After I cooked my omelet, I cleaned the skillet with a clean paper towel and set it back on the burner for another hour. The once shinny spot is now much darker. While not as black as the rest of the skillet, the wound will heal after a few more seasoning sessions.

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