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With many of the same ben­e­fits as cast iron but with­out the main­te­nance, enam­eled cast iron should be the next ad­di­tion to your cook­ware col­lec­tion. Here’s why.

Clean Eating - - CONTENTS - BY AN­DREA GOURGY, PHOTOGRAPHY BY VIN­CENZO PISTRITTO

Enamel cast iron has all the ben­e­fits of cast iron but with­out any of the fuss of sea­son­ing and main­tain­ing.

If you’re fa­mil­iar with cook­ing with cast iron, then you prob­a­bly al­ready know it holds heat like no other cook­ware for a per­fect golden sear, goes seam­lessly from stove top to oven and has a non­stick sur­face once it’s prop­erly worn in. But there’s a down­side to cast iron: It needs to be sea­soned to main­tain its slick sur­face, and what’s more, if you wash it with soap, you’ll lose the pre­cious sea­son­ing you’ve built up.

En­ter enam­eled cast iron cook­ware – quite sim­ply, cast-iron cook­ware with an enamel coat­ing over the cook­ing sur­face. You’ve prob­a­bly seen them in their bright col­ors and shapes rang­ing from Dutch ovens to skil­lets and even lasagna pans. The enamel coat­ing makes the cook­ing sur­face non­stick, no sea­son­ing re­quired. Like cast-iron, you can use it to sear, roast, sim­mer or boil, but when you’re done, you can send your dirty pot to the sink to wash with soap. They tend to be a lit­tle pricier than their reg­u­lar cast iron coun­ter­parts, but to us, the beneāts make it worth hav­ing a piece in your col­lec­tion. We’ve roasted, grilled, seared and sim­mered with enam­eled cast iron for weeks to bring you this roundup of our fa­vorites.

THE ROASTER

CUISINART 14-INCH ROAST­ING/LASAGNA PAN

You might not think enam­eled cast iron is cru­cial in a roast­ing pan, but we beg to dif­fer: Be­cause it holds heat so well, it im­parts a lovely, golden crust to your food. And don’t even get us started on the im­por­tance of its non­stick prop­er­ties in roasted dishes. Our cre­ative di­rec­tor and res­i­dent potato-mak­ing ex­pert, Stacy Jarvis, wowed her guests with the per­fect scal­loped pota­toes. And since try­ing this model, she won’t make pota­toes in any other ves­sel. Plus, the price tag proves that you don’t have to spend a for­tune to add enam­eled cast iron to your col­lec­tion. $60, cuisinart.com

THE DUTCH OVEN

STAUB CAST IRON 5.5-QT ROUND COCOTTE

Hail­ing from France’s Al­sace re­gion, and in­spired by their cui­sine that fo­cuses on one-pot cook­ing, this com­pany has been mak­ing these ovens since the 1970s. We’ve had our eye on this stylish graphite grey model for months, but it’s the func­tion­al­ity that makes it wor­thy of the price tag: It’s crafted to keep more hu­mid­ity in dur­ing the cook­ing process, and the in­te­rior has a rough enamel tex­ture that helps trap cook­ing juices to con­cen­trate fla­vors. $464, zwill­ingonline.com

THE GRILL PAN

MARTHA STE­WART COL­LEC­TION

11-INCH ENAM­ELED

CAST IRON GRILL PAN, CRE­ATED FOR MACY’S

For those who wish grilling sea­son could last all year long, this pan is the an­swer. It has ex­cel­lent heat re­ten­tion and im­parts gor­geous grill marks to pro­teins and veg­teta­bles. We found it works best with less saucy items as those items made it slightly harder to clean. $100, ma­cys.com

THE SKIL­LET

LE CREUSET SIG­NA­TURE SKIL­LET, SIZE: 10¼ INCH

Pre­pare your­self for the siz­zle you’d get from a reg­u­lar cast iron pan, with­out hav­ing to go through the sea­son­ing process. Our as­so­ciate edi­tor, Alexan­dra Emanuelli, has been tout­ing the mer­its of this skil­let for weeks, boast­ing that the heat re­ten­tion el­e­vated all her cook­ing, in­clud­ing per­fectly seared pro­teins and fried eggs that slid out of the pan al­most mag­i­cally. We adore the Caribbean blue color, but this brand is known for its vi­brant ar­ray of shades to choose from. $170, lecreuset.com

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