There is something in your kitchen that you've been neglecting. Perhaps you received it as a wedding present. Or its been passed down to you from your grandmother's grandmother's grandmother. Or maybe you've been living without one all this time.
The cast iron skillet.
If you have one...why is it sitting there, sad and lonely, collecting dust along with your waffle cone maker, your Hawaiian ice shaver (my Mom has had one of these sitting on her kitchen counter for like 15 years!), and your quesadilla maker? The latter three you can shuffle off to good will. But your cast iron skillet, you must start using immediately!
I only say this because I'm guilty as charged. I actually didn't even own one until two years ago, and mostly because the idea of "seasoning" a skillet freaked me out until I watched someone do it on TV and realized how totally easy it is (check out just how simple it is here). Seasoning a cast iron skillet simply means baking on a layer of oil (or other fat) to protect the surface of the pan and provide a cooking surface. Cast iron is fantastic because it conducts heat so evenly, and is particularly well for giving any kind of meat a delicious, crispy golden exterior. But it's also great for skillet potatoes, pan-frying vegetables, or baking a rustic (read: easy) cornmeal cake like this one that I love.
Case in point: these beautiful chicken thighs. My mouth waters just looking at this photo!
If you follow this recipe, you can't fail. Truly- it's as easy as that! I made them for my friend Ann, who practically melted with satisfaction when she took her first bite and then said something right on point: "When you eat this, who needs fried chicken?!"
Exactly. The skin is incredibly crispy, and the key is to season your chicken well with salt and pepper. Try it. Love it.
(Also, it is super delicious cold at 11:30 p.m. Don't ask how I know, I just do.)
Perfect Skillet Chicken Thighs
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Pat the chicken with paper towels and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Place the chicken thighs skin side down in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Turn down the head to medium-high and move the chicken around in the pan to make sure they're cooking evenly and not hitting "hot spots" in the pan. Cook until the skin is a golden brown, roughly 12 minutes.
At this point, put the whole skillet in the oven and continue cooking the chicken skin side down for another 13 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter and let it rest for another 5 minutes before serving. So delicious!