I finally received the cast-iron pan I’ve been asking for! However, it’s silver-gray, and food sticks to it. How do I get the deep black color and smooth texture of other cast-iron pans? Do I have to season my new cast-iron pan?
Lucky you. A good cast-iron pan will last generations and is one of the most versatile pans in the kitchen. But please don’t cook with it until you season it properly.
To season a cast-iron pan, first heat your oven to about 400°. Rub a teaspoon of oil onto the cooking surface of the pan and place the pan in the oven for about a half hour. Remove the pan and let it cool to room temperature. Repeat the process three or four times. Your pan will soon turn from gray to black, and the uneven texture will become smooth. Over time and with use, your pan will have a nonstick surface.
Most people will tell you not to use soap and water on a cast-iron pan. I disagree, and recommend that, after cooking, you scrape as much gunk out of the pan as possible, then use a small amount of soap and plenty of hot water to clean it (oil left in a pan has a tendency to go rancid). Do not soak it. Dry the pan over a low flame on the stove. Be sure to let it cool down completely before handling.