Thursday, November 14, 2019

Anne Byrn’s Skillet Love, Reviewed

There is a new cookbook from Grand Central Publishing that needs to be on your Christmas giving or receiving list this year. It is Anne Byrn’s Skillet Love, From Steak to Cake: More Than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan. If you have been confounded by cast iron in the past, if you have your grandmother’s cast iron pan tucked away in a closet somewhere, get that pan out, and get this book. You will become an expert chef in the blink of an eye by reading Byrn’s 10 Principles of Cast Iron Cooking, and experimenting with all of these mouthwatering recipes. Why cast iron, you may ask? Let me answer with her words:

“...[a] cast iron skillet allows you to cook boldly. Big flavors are achieved by a number of techniques and tricks, but the most important is high heat. The next time you go out and look into the open kitchen at your favorite restaurant, you will likely see fire and flame. You will hear sizzling, and you will smell char. In the world of food science, that means flavor.”

This beautiful book features recipes for every time of the day, from breakfast and brunch, to lunch, small plates for snacks, dinner, side dishes, even desserts. As someone not particularly familiar with cast-iron cooking, I have to say that my eyes were really opened with this one. 

I had no idea that so many things could be made in one pan. I think I was most surprised, first by the breakfast dishes, and then by the sides. My experience with cast-iron has generally been cooking steaks and scallops; I love the wonderful sear, as well as the butter-like tenderness. But to make an entire meal to serve right in the skillet, with no additional pots and pans involved, to use it for side dishes, or just serve a beautiful pan of caramel rolls is something completely out of my realm. Experimentation has already begun, and, thus far, I have been very pleased.
Whether you are a seasoned cook, or just starting out, this book has equal value for both. Recipes are clearly written, ingredients are those you are likely to have on hand, the techniques are clearly explained, and you will end up creating a meal that makes you proud to serve, and that your friends and family will doubtless enjoy.
I think the biggest surprises in this book were the Bacon Jam and Bourbon Peach Preserves. I’ll be trying both of them; my mouth waters as I write. Prior to reading this book I wouldn’t have considered a cast-iron skillet for such a thing, but the evenness of heat, steadiness of temperature, not to mention being able to get a good char on the peaches, as well as the bacon, makes a lot of sense. Trust me when I tell you, that next peach season I will be exploring the latter and give a full report. Meanwhile, Bacon Jam is on my list for today. I can only imagine how good that’s going to taste on top of a cheeseburger.
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Rustown Mom said...

I love bacon jam. And I love my cast iron skillets. I need to break them out and do up some FOOD.

Linda said...

Great review Pattie! And if it's from the Cake Mix Doctor it must be a good cookbook. I've used cast iron skillets since the 1980s and have every size including a Dutch oven. I've made cornbread, pizza, and desserts. One of our favorite desserts is a chocolate skillet cake that looks similar to the skillet cookie you have pictured. But as I read your post I realized I don't utilize my cast iron enough, and I don't have a cast iron cookbook. This is one I'm putting on my Christmas wish list.

Thelma said...

I use iron skillets all the time. I make my Irish Soda bread in the skillet in the over, and it cooks lovely.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

The book sounds fabulous! I have a Cast Iron softcover cookbook. I’ll have to dust it off.