Cast Iron Seared and Broiled Salmon With Fruit And Herb Salsa

Cast Iron Seared and Baked Salmon with Fruit and Herb Salsa

The website Yummly boasts over 493 different pan seared salmon recipes, and we have one for you that you are sure to enjoy.

We pan seared and broiled salmon steaks in a cast iron skillet. The exciting thing about that for us was, the cast iron skillet we used is black enamel coated, so there is no seasoning or special care needed, as there is with a traditional cast iron pot or skillet.

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Read More: How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware

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The Science of Cooking explains the purpose of searing meat, noting the process is called  the “Maillard Reaction,” and is not to be confused with “Caramelization.”

When searing meat, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created. When heated, these compounds break down to form new flavor. Each type of meat being seared has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction.

The important thing about the Maillard reaction isn’t the color—, it’s the flavors and aromas.

The Modernist Cuisine explains that temperatures need to be high to bring about the Maillard reaction, but as long as the food is very wet, its temperature won’t climb above the boiling point of water.

Now for our featured recipe: – Cast Iron Seared and Broiled Salmon With Fruit And Herb Salsa – and here is what you will need.

First prepare the Fruit and Her Salsa, and refrigerate for later.

1 cup diced peaches, fresh or frozen

3/4 cup diced mango, fresh or frozen

2 mini red sweet peppers, seeded and diced

1/4 cup diced red onion

5 leaves of fresh mint, leaves chopped

1 spring thyme, leaves only, discard steams

1/4 cup Italian parsley

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

cast iron cooking with avocado oilPrepare and mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Top and refrigerate until ready to use.

Now prepare your salmon steaks. You will need the following for two servings.

2 salmon steaks, skin on

3 to 4 tablespoons avocado oil, smoke point to 500 degrees

3-4  cups Arugula

Salmon steaks in a cast iron skilletHeat oven on broil. Next, lightly drizzle avocado oil (heat safe to 500 degrees) into a cast iron oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.  Add salmon steaks to heated skillet and sear on each side for 2 minutes.

turning salmon steaksPlace skillet in pre-heated oven under the broiler for 7 to 10 minutes, turning steaks about every 3 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook. As the skillet is close to the broiler element, keep a close eye on your salmon steaks so they do not burn. We baked our salmon steaks to about 155 degrees, as you need to remember the fish continues to cook even after you remove it from the oven.

Cast Iron Seared and Baked Salmon with Fruit and Herb Salsa - close upIt is important to remove the salmon from the skillet soon after removing it from the oven. Have plates ready with arugula, and top each with a salmon steak. Next spoon some fruit and herb salsa over the salmon, and enjoy!

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Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

This really isn’t a Mexican dish, but a recipe invention out of New Mexico. New Mexico uses a lot of traditional Mexican ingredients, but they make their own culinary inventions. Review an article that we posted with a blog guest who explained the difference between Mexican and Tex-Mex food, the information could also apply to Mexican Food verses New Mexico style Mexican Food…link here.

There are other similar recipes of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie, but they use ground beef and bake it in a cast iron skillet. For more on cooking with cast iron skillets view our articles here.

Now for our featured recipe Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie, and here is what you will need.

ingredients for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 medium yellow or white onion, finely diced

5 mini-sweet peppers, different colors, thinly diced

1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

11 ounces frozen whole kernel corn

2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning

2 cups shredded Rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped

3/4 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

You can also use BBQ chicken breast shredded. I used BBQ seasoning in place of  Taco seasoning as they both use similar herbs.

sauteeing, mixing and simmering vegetable bean mix for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sweet peppers and saute, stirring until they are tender. Then add the diced tomato, black beans, corn, and seasoning and mix together until well incorporated.

simmering vegetable bean mix for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Let simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.

cutting cilantro with kitchen shears

We use kitchen shears to cut the cilantro, making it easy and convenient. It is cut up just before use, never before. The oils that flow from the cut leaves start deteriorating after cutting into the leaves. For maximum flavor, prepare the herb just before you need it.

adding shredded chicken and cilantro to vegetable mix for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Now that the mixture has simmered for 10 minutes, add the shredded chicken and cut cilantro, and stir in and cook until hot.

lining sprin form pan and layering tortillas and meat mixture for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Now to prepare the pie, line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan. Position one tortilla on the bottom of the lined pan and spoon on mixture until if spreads even over the surface of the tortilla. Repeat this three more times, using the other three tortillas. After placing the last tortilla on the top, spread the cheese out over it.

Place into the heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until browned lightly. Remove and let stand 5 minutes.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Remove the ring from the spring-form panas well as the paper around the pie, and slide pie onto a platter and serve.

slice of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

It may not be a Mexican original culinary dish, but for the sack of argument, let’s say it is. Enjoy your slice of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie.

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Deep Dish Pizza with Onion and BBQ Chicken

Deep Dish Pizza with Onions and BBQ Chicken

Want to enjoy a delicious deep-dish pizza with a crispy, golden crust without leaving the comfort of your own home?

Fortunately, you can make deep-dish pizza at home without needing to buy any special equipment. All you need is a well-seasoned 12” cast iron skillet, a good pizza dough recipe and your favorite toppings. If you would like to read our posted articles about how to season your pan, the benefits of cast iron, and other recipes made in a cast iron pan, link here.

The following instructions can be easily customized to create any kind of pie you desire.

This version combines onions and a sweet and spicy barbeque chicken to create a nice departure from the more traditional pepperoni and cheese.

A great sweet and spicy BBQ sauce I recommend is Annie’s Natural, all organic ingredients used, link here to find a retailer near you or shop for it on-line.

 

Toppings:

 
2 cups shredded rotisserie or cooked chicken breast

1 cup sweet and spicy BBQ sauce, plus ½ cup

1½ cups onions, diced (onion of your choice)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Pizza Dough Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

3/4 teaspoons brown sugar

1½ cups very warm water (110˚F)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

3½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

 

Note: This recipe makes two large pizzas. If you don’t want to use all the dough right away, you can store the remaining portion in your refrigerator for several days or freeze for later use.

 

Directions:

Add warm water (note that it is very important that the water is 110 degrees), yeast and brown sugar to large bowl. Let sit for 10 – 12 minutes until the yeast is no longer active.

Add salt and oil. Next add 2½ cups of flour – ½ cup at a time – while stirring constantly with a fork.

Before dropping dough onto a well-floured surface coat hands with flour, kneading in more flour until dough is no longer sticky.

Shape dough into a ball and add to a clean bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover bowl with a towel and let sit for approximately one hour in a warm place.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400˚degrees.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your fist and reshape into a ball.

After a couple minutes, cut dough in half with large knife and roll out one half on a clean, well-floured surface.  When the dough is about 4 inches larger than the bottom of your skillet, gently lift and place into pan.

Fold top edge of dough back so it touches the crust at the bottom of the skillet. Use your fingers to make sure the dough is the same thickness around the entire perimeter of the pan.

Combine chicken and one cup barbeque sauce in glass bowl. Toss to combine.

Add remaining barbeque sauce to the crust and spread evenly. Add chicken and caramelized onions, next top with mozzarella cheese. With a pastry brush, coat remaining exposed portions of dough with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, if desired.

Place skillet in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese and crust are golden brown.

 

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Beyond Skillets 4 Must Have Cast Iron Cookware Pieces

Beyond Skillets 4 Must Have Cast Iron Cookware Pieces

Cast iron skillets are so easy love. Whether inherited from a beloved grandmother, found at a bustling flea market, or purchased brand new, the origin of these durable and dependable skillets doesn’t really matter. Once one makes its way into your home, it will soon become a treasured kitchen staple.

Fortunately, the beauty of cast iron doesn’t end there. In fact, there are many affordable cast iron pieces available that are just as wonderful as your favorite skillet.

Here are four other great cast iron cookware pieces:

1. Dutch Oven – No kitchen is complete without a cast iron Dutch oven. There are many choices available, especially now with the increasing popularity of the enamel finishes. Although the colorful designer styles can be pricey, you can still find the simple ‘campfire’ or ‘raw’ varieties of cast iron at a very reasonable price.

Both the designer and raw styles work extremely well – after all, the quality is in the cast iron, not the color!

When you shop, choose a Dutch oven that is heavy, with sturdy handles, and a tight-fitting cast iron or heavy glass lid. A good cast iron Dutch oven can be used on top of the stove to make soups and stews or it can be used in the oven to make roasts and casseroles. You can even take a “raw” version on your next camping trip to whip up some delicious meals over your campfire.

Aside from your cast iron skillet, your Dutch oven will be among your most often used cookware pieces.

2. Grill/Griddle Combo – Although you may long for a stove with a built-in grill/griddle combination, it may not be a realistic option in the near future. However, you may be surprised to discover how easy and fun it is to cook with a cast iron version. Just heat up your cast iron griddle and you will feel like a short-order cook in no time!

Cast iron is so versatile, you’ll soon be frying up crispy bacon, golden brown pancakes, and perfectly done eggs without having to wash several pans or mess around with a bunch of specialty appliances. Plus, the grill side makes those nice grill marks that make everything you cook look so wonderful. For some reason, food that looks good seems to taste better, too.

3. Muffin and Loaf Pans – The best part of making cornbread in a cast iron skillet is the golden crust that forms around the outside of the pan. When you use cast iron muffin or loaf pans, you’ll end up with even more of that golden crusty goodness.

In addition, you can use cast iron muffin pans for all sorts of muffins and other individual serving size dishes, plus switching to cast iron loaf pans for bread results in consistently golden brown crusts with no scorched bottoms.

4. Fajita Serving Platters – To re-create that restaurant-style sizzle when your fajita or steak comes to the table, you can’t beat individual cast iron serving platters. Just heat the platters in a hot oven, and when your meal is ready to serve, carefully pull the platters from the oven and plate them up for that mouth-watering sizzle everyone loves.

You can also find sizzle platters with heat-resistant carriers so all you have to worry about is making enough food so you don’t run out when everyone asks for more!

Besides the fun restaurant-quality presentation you can achieve with these individual serving platters, they offer the added bonus of keeping your food warmer longer. This is a great idea when you’re cooking and serving outdoors. No more chilled plates on the picnic table, which makes sizzle platters both fun and practical.

A good set of cast iron skillets is a great starting point for every kitchen. But, once you get your basic skillets seasoned just right, isn’t it time to expand your horizons?

These four versatile pieces will open up a whole new world of cast iron cooking in no time. From roasts to soups to breads to the lazy weekend morning breakfast extravaganza, cast iron cookware does it all – and does it deliciously!

 

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Caramelizing Onions in a Cast Iron Skillet

Caramelized Onions

 

Oh the sound of cooking and caramelizing onions. When prepared in a seasoned cast iron skillet, the onions will turn a dark caramel color that is next to impossible to achieve with a regular non-stick pan (read our article here How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware).

Caramelized onions can add great flavor to your favorite recipes. Try them on pizza, hamburgers or served alongside your favorite steaks and roasted vegetables.

Caramelizing Onions in a Cast Iron SkilletHere is how and what you will need to caramelize your own onions:

2 or 3 large yellow onions

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pinch salt

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

With a sharp knife, remove both ends of onion and cut in half lengthwise. Turn one piece of onion onto flat side and cut into thin slices, working from one end to another. Repeat until all onions are sliced.

Melt butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion slices to skillet and drizzle olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.

Slowly cook the onions down over medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour. (Total cooking time will depend on how many onions were used, the onions’ sugar content, and how old they are).

Stir the onions every 5 or 10 minutes while they are cooking to prevent scorching.

Once the onions are done caramelizing, add balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. While the liquid is bubbling, gently scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate the fond or brown bits on the bottom of the pan into the onions.

Season onions with additional salt, if desired. Serve immediately, or cool and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Caramelized onions can also be frozen and stored for a couple of months.

Enjoy caramelizing onions with your favorite dishEnjoy caramelized onions with your favorite dish!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: paulcowan / 123RF Stock Photo

Header Image credit: Not Starving Yet

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Rosemary and Thyme Oven-Roasted Chicken

Our last article on cast iron cookware – 4 Commonly Asked Questions About Cast Iron Cookware – ended with stating..”Come back later  and we will show you how to oven roast a whole chicken using a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet“. Will you came back and here’s the recipe.

Rosemary and Thyme Oven-Roasted Chicken and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Rosemary and Thyme Oven-Roasted Chicken

Most cooks and those that prepare oven roasted chicken will use lemon, but I have chosen to use an orange.

1 whole roasting chicken, approximately 4-5 pounds

1 large yellow onion or 2 medium, cut into uniformly thick slices

1 whole orange, cut into quarters

8-10 cloves garlic, crushed and skins removed

4 tablespoons butter, cut into slices

2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves removed and chopped, plus 3 whole sprigs

3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed, plus 3 whole sprigs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt

You can opt to make some vegetables of your chose, while roasting the chicken. We will prepare some potatoes with our chicken.

1 batch Oven-Roasted Red Potatoes* (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425˚ degrees.

Remove giblets from chicken cavity and discard. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

preparing to roast  potatoes

If you are preparing the potatoes, do so according to the recipe instructions in a 12” pre-seasoned cast iron skillet. As a suggestion the recipe can be for Oven-Roasted Red Potatoes. 

Once potatoes have been browned on the stove top, push them to the outer edge of the pan and placed sliced onions in the center. Otherwise, omit the potatoes and just place sliced onion on bottom of skillet.

place cleaned chicken over potatoes

Set chicken on top of onions and fill cavity with sliced oranges, garlic cloves and whole sprigs of rosemary and thyme. For a nicer appearance, tie legs together with kitchen twine.

ingredients for herbed butter

Add chopped rosemary and thyme leaves to a flat plate and press butter slices into the herb mixture. Repeat on the other side.  Use a knife to separate the skin from the breast meat and slide the herb butter slices in between.

Drizzle over top of chicken breast with some olive oil. Use fingers or pastry brush to coat the exposed surface, and season generously with salt and pepper, to taste.

roasting chicken in cast iron skillet in the oven

Place skillet in oven and roast for approximately 1 hour or until juices run clear when you cut into the area near the base of the thigh. Actual cooking time will vary depending on how large the bird is and individual oven settings.

Remove skillet from oven, and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Rosemary and Thyme Oven-Roasted Chicken

When ready to serve carve chicken meat from carcass, plate and serve with potatoes and leafy greens. The meat should be very succulent and juicy with hints of citrus flavor. Enjoy!!

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4 Commonly Asked Questions About Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware

Whether you’re new to cast iron cooking or have been using your favorite pieces for years, chances are you may have a few questions about how to use and care for your cast iron.

Here are four common questions about cast iron cookware:

1. Question: I bought a new cast iron skillet and it says it’s “pre-seasoned” and “ready to use.” Is it really? I’ve heard so much about the proper seasoning of cast iron, this
just doesn’t seem right.

Answer: This is a tricky question two-part question which actually can be answered both “yes” and “no.”

Yes, you can cook in new “pre-seasoned” cast iron cookware without going through any seasoning process. However, it is not truly “ready to use.”

You should still rinse your new cast iron piece in hot water to remove any of the dust or dirt it picked up on the store shelf. Then, dry it completely by heating over a burner set to medium-high heat for about one minute. Once it is completely dry, allow your pan to cool before lightly coating with a good food-quality oil or fat with a high smoke point. Adding a light coat of oil after each use will help build up an even better patina on your pan surface over time.

2. Question: I had a really nice seasoning on my cast iron skillet, but now it seems to be peeling and chipping. What happened?

Answer: There are a few things that can cause this. The most common causes are washing your skillet with a harsh soap or letting it soak overnight in the sink. Both of these actions can soften the finish and cause it to peel off or disintegrate.

The recommended method for washing your cast iron is to give it a quick rinse in hot water, wipe with a paper towel, and dry thoroughly on a hot burner. This will maintain the cast iron patina.

Cooking highly acidic foods or using metal cooking utensils can also damage the patina on your cast iron pieces. For instance, if you are making something with a lot of tomatoes, you may see some distress or dulling on the finish. To combat the reaction that acidic foods have on the finish, be sure to cook other types of food in the same pan often.

Fortunately, if the patina is very well established, a little acid isn’t going to hurt it. It’s really in those first stages that you might have some pitting and softening. Just watch it closely and avoid acidic foods as much as possible in newly seasoned cookware.

3. Question: I recently pulled out my grandmother’s old cast iron skillet and noticed that rust had formed where the pots were stacked together. Is it ruined?

Answer: No, definitely not. While it can be discouraging to find rust on your favorite pieces of cast iron, it is not impossible to remove.

There are a lot of remedies out there, but the most natural methods for rust removal are often the best and safest. Simply sprinkle salt onto the area, cut a lemon in half, and rub the lemon over the salt. Let the cast iron sit out to dry, then rinse. Repeat the process to remove any remaining spots of rust.

The nice thing about this method is you are not going to hurt the pan, and you can repeat it as often as necessary. Be wary of any suggestions that a spray-on oven cleaner is the only remedy. A little salt and lemon will remove the rust without severely stripping whatever patina you have already built up.

4. Question: I really want to wash my cast iron cookware, but I keep hearing people say I should just wipe it out to keep the finish nice. Isn’t that just asking for trouble with germs?

Answer: In a perfect world, soap would never touch your cast iron cookware. However, there are times when a little mild dish soap on a sponge is needed. The key is to not overdo it with harsh detergents or abrasive surfaces so you don’t damage the patina.

If you’re worried about germs, soap and water isn’t the only solution. Heat your cast iron over high heat and add some oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat to just below the smoke point. Then, remove from the heat, let cool and wipe with a paper towel. No germs will survive through this process.

If you still want a water bath, add water to the cookware and bring it to a boil, then pour it out, and dry on a hot burner, wiping the cookware clean. If you absolutely must use soap, then do so sparingly. Wipe the cookware with a sponge (never a scrubber) and a dab of dish soap. Then, rinse and dry thoroughly. Be sure to brush on some oil or grease after each cleaning, regardless of what method you use.

Keep in mind, there are different methods to care for your cast iron cookware depending on the types of foods you cook in them. For example, if you cook a lot of chili or other acidic food, you may have to season your cast iron more often. If you use a skillet just to fry eggs and bacon, you can probably just wipe it out with a papertowel and you’ll be good to go.

With a little practice, you’ll know exactly what your cast iron needs to perform perfectly every time.

Come back later  and we will show you how to oven roast a whole chicken using a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet.


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