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The Perfect Tenderloin Steak

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For years I had a love-hate relationship with cast iron cookware. Now that I have more cooking experience, I adore cast iron.

I have to tell you my cast iron story.

Not long after I moved into my first apartment, my mother gave me two of her Lodge heavy-duty cast iron fry pans. She was getting new cookware and there was no room for them in her cupboard.

I thanked her for them and took them to my apartment where I stashed them in a cupboard. I had to look grateful for her gift, but I had no intention of using those ugly cast iron pans. I hated them since I was a little girl. When I was just taller than the kitchen table it was often my job to dry the larger cast iron skillet. I wasn’t even strong enough to hold it. I had to do the job with the pan sitting on the table. It was heavy; way too heavy for me, so I learned to hate that cast iron pan.

As I got older I saw those cast iron pans as the fuddy-duddy cookware. They were old. In fact, they were so old I think my mom got them from her mother-in-law. I considered them ancient and wanted nothing to do with them. I was a “modern cook.”

As I moved from one apartment to another, and eventually to two of my homes, I dutifully packed up those pans. Then I unpacked them and stashed them in a cupboard – again.

 

Finally, when I moved to Chicago almost 20 years ago, I behaved differently when I unpacked them. This time, I put them in a drawer that was easily accessible when I was cooking. Honestly, I can’t remember why. It might have been because of the way the kitchen was laid out. I know I did not put them in a convenient spot on purpose. It just happened.

And as happenstance plays its funny games, one night I pulled out my cast iron skillet and used it to sauté a steak. I remember a cooking technique I saw at a French restaurant. Their method was to sear the steaks in a hot cast iron pan and then finish them in the oven. I did the same thing that night and had the best home-cooked steak I had ever eaten. That started a trend.

I started cooking with cast iron almost every day. I discovered when I seared meat in my cast iron pan and finished it in the oven, the meat stayed juicier. It didn’t matter if it was steak, pork, or chicken. Same wonderful results...

Read the full column at PlanZDiet.com

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