We’re entering a new iron age. That’s because chefs are turning to classic cast iron skillets as a way to prepare and present their fare. Here are nine dishes served in cast iron cookware featuring flair metal that’s as fetching as it is functional.
Roasted Octopus at Urbana, Washington, D.C.
We’re a sucker for this dish. Oh-so-tender tentacles star in the sizzling sensation. The meaty curls sit atop fingerling potatoes and spicy garlic sausage dressed with lemon aioli. Make a reservation at Urbana.
Buttermilk Biscuits at Meril, New Orleans Louisiana
A good biscuit is hard to find. This is a great one. Plus, it comes topped with foie gras butter (Hey, Emeril, can you please ship us some of that?) and blackberry preserves. Make a reservation at Meril.
Mussels a La Plancha at Lulu Kitchen & Bar, Sag Harbor, New York
Simple and succinct. New Zealand mussels are dressed with sea salt, crushed pepper, and lemon-parsley butter. The starry presentation makes them perfect for Instagramming. Make a reservation at Lulu Kitchen & Bar.
Breakfast Hoecake at Cane Rosso, Houston, Texas
This is the cure to your next hangover. Rich jalapeño cheese corn cake arrives topped off with sorghum butter and green onions. A cheery sunny-side up egg completes the headache-banishing brunch standout. Make a reservation at Cane Rosso.
Bourbon Peach Crumble at Searsucker, Austin, Texas
Bourbon makes everything better. Case in point is this booze-boosted take on the Southern classic. Fresh peaches are topped with blueberry jam, ginger oat crumble, and vanilla bean ice cream. Make a reservation at Searsucker.
Florida Cheddar and Chive Biscuits at Bird & Bone, Miami Beach, Florida
Flakey four-corner biscuits have a crisp layer of cheese on the bottom, courtesy of the cast iron’s searing heat. Don’t overlook the side of homemade strawberry preserves. Crack a biscuit open to reveal the accordion-like layers and slather it on. Make a reservation at Bird & Bone.
Crepa de Puerco at Cuba Libre, Washington, D.C.
Pulled pork and queso añejo come swaddled in a roasted crepe. It’s lavished with corn and truffle crema, rocoto pepper oil, and an herb salad. The perfect way to start the day after a long night. Make a reservation at Cuba Libre.
Mac & Cheese at Maple & Ash, Chicago, Illinois
There aren’t enough numbers to quantify the countless reasons why we love mac ‘n’ cheese. This stellar rendition gets a boost from gooey raclette cheese and a touch of truffle. Intensely indulgent — just as it should be. Make a reservation at Maple & Ash.
Whole White Fish Puerto at PM Fish and Steak House, Miami, Florida
Simply seasoned with salt, cayenne, and lemon, a fresh-from-the-depths filet gets golden on the grill. It arrives on a cast iron platter, which makes for a rustic-yet-refined presentation. Worthy of a picture before you devour it. Make a reservation PM Fish and Steak House.
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Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Beck Kastelz (Searsucker).