I thought I had trashed my cast iron skillet. Being from the south, this is unacceptable. I make blackened chicken on a regular basis, and  if you ever watch Paula Deen, you’ll know her cast iron skillet is a must, along with her sticks of butter. I’ve also been braising a lot, which works well in cast iron.

When you buy cast iron skillets, they are usually seasoned. No, not with cajun spices, but with a coating that keeps cast iron from oxidizing. When it oxidizes, it rusts. Some reasons for this are sitting in water for a prolonged period of time and acidicty from things like tomatoes. I’m not sure what happened to mine. But the rings in the pot look suspiciously like glasses, say leftover from a man like my husband.

So what did I do? Called my mom. She told me to scrub the rust off, put oil on a paper towel, and oil it up — all over. I did. Then I stuck it in a 250 degree oven for an hour. And guess what? Good as new.

In celebration of my skillet being okay, here is a recipe for Skillet Cornbread that I’m going to try.

Skillet Cornbread from Bon Appetit

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Put a dry, well-seasoned 9- to 9 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet in middle of oven to heat.
  2. Stir together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt, crushing any small bits of baking soda. Whisk eggs in another bowl until blended and whisk in buttermilk.
  3. Remove hot skillet from oven carefully and add butter, swirling gently to coat bottom and sides of skillet. (If butter begins to sizzle and brown around edges, so much the better.)
  4. Whisk hot butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven. Stir cornmeal into buttermilk mixture just until moistened. (The batter doesn’t have to be smooth—a few small lumps are good.)
  5. Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Invert skillet over a platter and cool bread at least 3 minutes.


~ Dana