If you want a good, hard sear on a piece of meat, grab a cast iron skillet. Looking to add minerals to your food? Ditto. Just want a workhorse of a pan that will take you from fried eggs to a free-form apple galette? You know what to do. The world of cast iron cooking goes way beyond cornbread (although we’ll never turn down a pan of that stuff). First, brush up on the basics of cast iron care. Then, grab that skillet and get ready to do a deep dive into the world of cast iron cooking—these are our favorite ways to use it.
Cast iron helps the meat get an aggressively brown sear—perfect for a porterhouse steak. A nonstick skillet is okay. A cast iron pan is better. Use a deeper pan if you’ve got one—hot oil splatters! Read more here.
Skillet-Baked Eggs with Spinach, Yogurt, and Chili Oil
2/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 garlic clove, halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped leek (white and pale-green parts only)
2 tablespoons chopped scallion (white and pale-green parts only)
10 cups fresh spinach (10 ounces)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon kirmizi biber (Turkish chili powder), or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of paprika
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
“American and British cooks don’t know how far you can take an egg dish,” chef Yotam Ottolenghi says. Here, he deftly elevates it to a different realm by flavoring spinach with melted leeks and scallions, baking eggs on top, and finishing with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of butter spiced with a smoky Turkish chili powder known as kirmizi biber (though crushed red pepper flakes will also work). Serve the dish in your best cookware. “It’s always nice to surprise people,” he says.
Mix yogurt, garlic, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 300°. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add leek and scallion; reduce heat to low. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add spinach and lemon juice; season with salt. Increase heat to medium-high; cook, turning frequently, until wilted, 4–5 minutes.
Transfer spinach mixture to 10″ skillet, leaving any excess liquid behind. If using 2 smaller skillets, divide spinach mixture equally between skillets. Make 4 deep indentations in center of spinach in larger skillet or 2 indentations in each small skillet. Carefully break 1 egg into each hollow, taking care to keep yolks intact. Bake until egg whites are set, 10–15 minutes.
Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add kirmizi biber and a pinch of salt and cook until butter starts to foam and browned bits form at bottom of pan, 1–2 minutes. Add oregano and cook for 30 seconds longer. Remove garlic halves from yogurt; discard. Spoon yogurt over spinach and eggs. Drizzle with spiced butter.