Kitchn Love Letters

This Sleek Skillet Changed the Way I Think About Cast Iron and I Wish I’d Discovered It Sooner

published Sep 13, 2022
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Credit: Faith Durand

I have something to admit: My whole life, I’ve thought that all cast-iron skillets were more or less the same. Don’t get me wrong, I think the things are wondrous, multi-functional, lifetime-lasting pieces of cookware — I mean, to be able to use the same skillet atop a burner, inside an over, on the grill, and on open flames when camping makes these bad boys undeniable culinary MVPs. But, when it comes to choosing which exact pan is the best, things get a little foggy for me. I’ve cooked with all kinds of cookware, but despite some of the design elements that come with pricier cast-iron pans, I have a hard time telling their cooking abilities apart from more wallet-friendly options. That’s why I’ve usually opted for the affordable version — which, to this day, has never done me wrong.

Recently, though, my whole world of cast-iron knowledge came crumbling down thanks to a single, 10-inch skillet. Yes, that’s right, every preconceived notion I had about this genre of cookware was instantly eliminated with a single look at (and subsequent test run of) Field Company’s No.8 Cast Iron Skillet.

Now, I know this seems dramatic, but as someone who tests cookware for a living, this revelation is actually just as game-changing as it seems. So, what sets this pan apart? Well, there’s a lot I love about it, but I’ll start with it’s interior: Unlike comparable skillets, the No.8’s interior is not rough or porous, which are two of the features I normally associate with cast iron. Instead, the inside of the pan is smooth — almost like stainless steel — and has a gorgeous bronzed, patina look from the get-go that makes cooking in it a total breeze.

I began with simple caramelized onions, looking to start off my flavor-building with the essential allium. They browned beautifully, evenly, and with minimal work from myself (aside from the occasional stir). Talk about true, evenly distributed heat! I went on to make some garlicky zucchini, popping the pan in the broiler to see how it faired. The little half-moons of squash developed color on both sides as the pan absorbed heat and redistributed it below. Perfection. The next night, I made crispy, peppery tofu, which (much to my surprise), did not stick even one bit to the surface of the pan despite a cornstarch coating — something practically unheard of when it comes to cast-iron cookware.

After every cooking task, I found cleaning the thing was way less daunting than I anticipated. After all, taking care of cast iron is notoriously tricky, but Field Company offers a simple and user-friendly solution. They advise you to wash the pan with soap and water, then dry it completely and season it with oil — it doesn’t get much easier than that if you ask me. I also really to encourage you to get their Cast Iron Care Kit, which comes with a heavenly seasoning oil that’s got beeswax in it.

Credit: Stella Totino

Besides its totally killer cooking abilities and easy-to-clean nature, the skillet is also streamlined, sleek, and feels far from the cumbersome, clunky cast iron of my past. To be completely honest, I’ve kept the thing on my stovetop since I unboxed it — it’s that pretty. And, as someone who is constantly organizing their kitchen, that’s undoubtedly saying something!

So, trust me — whether you identify as a cast iron fan or a skeptic, investing in this pan will make you a better cook. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to wondering how it took me this long to discover Field Company.