Friday, January 01, 2010
We use small, pressed steel pans at the restaurant for general purpose cooking; beef, salmon, fish of the day and so on. Over time, grease and carbon accumulate on the pan's surface despite frequent cleaning, which causes food to stick and burn. To remedy this, we use rock salt and heat to clean the pan, readying it for re-seasoning.
The closeup shots below show the cumulative effect of everyday cooking (the liquid-looking trails are just the effect of the bright kitchen lights).
Fill your pan to the brim with rock salt and place on a hob turned up high. The pan should be left on for around three or four hours. There's a lot of hissing and ticking as the salt absorbs the ingrained grease, causing the crystals to slowly turn grey. Make sure your ventilation is on as it does get a little stinky.
Empty your salt into a steel bowl to cool; it's also re-usable so keep it for later use. The pan should look dull and grey - put aside to cool down. Any crust not absorbed by the salt should just flake away or come off when we wash the pan.
Once cool enough to handle, wash in hot, soapy water and allow to dry in a warm oven. To re-season, simply spray a light coating of cooking oil over the pan and rub into the surface with a paper towel or cloth. Wipe off any excess oil and pop back into the oven to dry off.
No more crusty bits and a nice smooth, non-stick surface.