The Versatile Skillet That’s Quickly Replacing My Trusty Cast Iron
I am a cast iron skillet fan through and through. You can find me slinging my trusty Lodge skillet around for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — crisping hash browns, toasting croutons, and broiling baked pastas — but it definitely has its downsides. It’s heavy as all get-out, for one. There’s no “effortless” tossing of ingredients, thanks to the significant heft and the fact that the handle heats up just as much as the pan itself, so I always need a potholder handy. And the main gripe with a cast iron pan is, of course, the labor-intensive maintenance of the seasoning. Just one accidental trip in the dishwasher strips the pan of months (or years!) of careful washing and oiling.
That’s where enameled cast iron comes in. Recently, I’ve been falling deeply in love with a lighter, more nimble skillet that’s slowly encroaching on my ol’ reliable Lodge.
What’s Great About Vermicular’s Oven-Safe Skillet?
The Vermicular oven-safe skillet is pretty much what versatile cookware dreams are made of — it’s lightweight and oven- and dishwasher-safe, and the handle remains cool to the touch. I’ve been reaching for it more frequently than I thought I would, for toasting nuts to top salads, heating up quick lunches (shoutout to Trader Joe’s), and even making single-serving baked mac and cheese that can be popped right in the oven for a broil.
This pan is impressively thin, which means it’s both lightweight (only 1.8 pounds, compared to the 7.5 pounds of my 12-inch Lodge cast iron pan) and it’s particularly responsive to heat changes. This is big for me, as I’m frequently picking up the pan to adjust the heat because my electric coil stovetop is anything but responsive. Plus, the handle on the pan remains cool to the touch, thanks to a stainless steel heat-shielding joint that keeps the handle insulated from high cooking temperatures. Possibly the best part about this pan, though, is that it’s dishwasher-safe. I don’t mind hand-washing high-quality kitchen items, but I can’t deny that throwing something in the dishwasher is highly preferred — especially on weeknights or after quick-fix lunches.
Another thing: No matter what I do with my traditional cast iron pan, I am somehow always left with stuck-on bits of scrambled eggs. Even though the seemingly obvious answer would be to switch to a nonstick pan, I’ve grown tired of their short lifespans (I mean, if they can’t be heated past medium, what’s the point?), which is why I’ve swapped (most of) my nonstick cookware for enameled cast iron and stainless steel. Eggs are truly a breeze to cook in this skillet, with as much or as little oil or butter as your heart desires. I personally love to crisp up a sunny-side-up egg in olive oil, or flash-fry some scrambled eggs in a heap of butter, which easily slide out onto toast off the gently curved side of the pan. The lid comes in super handy for breakfast sandwiches, too, by melting cheese to gooey perfection without excess heat on the bottom of the eggs.
So, after several years of working up a seasoning on my trusty traditional cast iron skillet, you’d be hard-pressed to pry it from my hands, but I’ve found that Vermicular’s lighter, more responsive version is just as invaluable.
Buy: Vermicular 10.2-Inch Oven-Safe Skillet, $195