Being a culinary history, oyster and cast iron cookware enthusiast, I couldn’t resist snagging a vintage cast iron “oyster fryer” on ebay. Arriving with an impossible layer of ancient hardened grease and rust, it sat on the back porch for a few years. I’d look admiringly at it’s “bones”, imagining how it might clean up, imagining frying oysters in in.
But it never happened, at least until I moved and needed to pack up or dispose of things. The oyster fryer confronted me, goaded me. I could hear it saying, “Don’t you think it’s about time I had some meaningful attention?”
Guilty as charged. I resolved to get the job done. How in the hell does one remove a several decades worth of hardened frying grease and rust. I put queries out on Twitter and Facebook. Creatve and plausible solutions were offered, including burying the pan in hot coals. This sounded reasonable. To clean a badly scorched cast iron skillet, I merely leave it on the burner until the crud burns off . Then reseason. Tried and true. I was about to scout out a place to build a fire and make a bed of coals when I got a message from Brandon Petitt at Delancey, everyone’s favorite pizza joint, in Ballard.
“Bring the fryer over. We’ll leave it in the pizza oven overnight and it will be is good as new”, wrote Brandon.
I did and it is indeed as good as new.
When I went to fetch it, we both admired the hammered metal. You don’t see that kind of hand work anymore.
The hand-crafted wire fry basket came clean as well.
What kind of oil do you recommend for deep frying?