Why is there a dirty rag in the freezer? was my first thought. I was cooking at work, so I knew who it belonged to: my co-worker Shanti, who is known for her ingenious solutions to common kitchen issues. You see, this isn't just any dirty rag. It is an indispensable tool we pull out every time we use the grill pan.
With their grooved surfaces, grill pans are difficult to oil properly. The oil settles in the bottom of the ridges and never really coats the tops. The best way to get an even coating of oil is to hold a clean rag in a pair of tongs and rub the oil over the surface of the pan.
If your grill pan is properly heated, a paper towel won't survive the contact, so a cotton cloth is the way to go. Storing it in a plastic bag in the freezer means you can reuse it without having to wash an oil-soaked rag every time you grill, or worry about the oil turning rancid. No, it isn't pretty — but it really works.
Do you have any tips or tricks for using a grill pan?
Related: Summer in the City: Indoor Grilling Tips and Techniques
(Image: Anjali Prasertong)