Cooking Eggs In Cast Iron

by David Greenwell // April - May - June 2020

We generally associate the words “comfort food” with dinner dishes like meatloaf, chicken pot pie, and the like – dishes that warm up our insides on a chilly fall or winter night. But to me, there is no more comforting food than some relaxed, spring, weekend morning breakfast coming out of a cast iron skillet. You truly cannot get the sear, heat retention, and caramelization from any other utensil.

One of my personal favorite dishes to cook in cast iron is fried eggs. And with the warm spring weather finally here, it’s a great time to visit local farmers markets where you can grab fresh eggs that are perfect for this delicious morning dish.

Cooking eggs in a cast iron skillet allows for their edges to get so wonderfully crispy, and the caramelization provides a richness not found when using Teflon. I know we are conditioned in this technological time to only cook eggs in a pan coated with some form of non-stick surface – and it may seem daunting to face the possibility of their sticking. But dare yourself to dig Grandma’s cast iron skillet out of the back of your cupboard and use it for your Saturday morning egg entrée … I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll be glad you did.

To start, make sure the skillet is “seasoned” – meaning that it has a dark buildup of oils that make the surface more non-stick. This is the key to being able to fry the eggs … and if you happen to have Grandma’s aforementioned skillet, it is most likely already good to go. There are many websites that describe the process of seasoning cast iron in detail, such as fieldcompany.com (Field Cast Iron), in the event you would like to start with a new, unseasoned skillet.

Okay, now that you have ensured sufficient skillet seasoning, it’s time to cook. First, set the pan on medium-low heat to get it hot. When the pan is hot, place a generous pat of butter in the middle to melt. Second – and this step is essential – add the egg(s) as soon as the butter melts, sizzles, and begins to brown around the edge of the puddle. Last, flip your eggs halfway through (I find a slotted metal turner is best for flipping; I believe it’s easier to work the metal turner under their edges than some sort of plastic and silicone), salt, pepper, and enjoy.

It all sounds so simple – and it is. Easily crafting a deliciously comforting breakfast dish that is perfect for a relaxing spring morning is all about the dish itself … the good ol’ cast iron skillet.

David Greenwell

Owner of The Forks Cafeteria, located at 339 S. Brooks St. in Downtown Wake Forest, offering classic Southern fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.