The answer to this question is YES! I actually suggest both of these brands. While they are both cast iron and can perform many of the same functions, I’ve found it worthwhile to have several styles and sizes of these two powerhouse brands of cookware in my kitchen to complete different tasks.
I use one of these two brands almost every time I cook something at home, including breakfast! I chose to make a caramelized onion frittata to showcase the versatility of a Le Creuset buffet casserole (also known as a braiser) and a Lodge cast iron skillet. Braisers can do much more than braise, and who doesn’t want to have a cast iron skillet on hand these days?
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Frittata
Yield: 8 servings
Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 50 minutes
For the caramelized onions:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large red or yellow red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups baby spinach, rough chopped
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
2. To caramelize the onions heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the olive oil and butter. Slowly sauté the onions until they are deeply caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. If browned bits of fond build up on the bottom of the pan while caramelizing, deglaze with a touch of water.
3. While the onions cook, whisk together the eggs, half and half and parsley in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
4. Once the onions are nicely caramelized, deglaze with the sherry and reduce until dry. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Increase the heat to high. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir once to combine. Sprinkle the top with the crumbled goat cheese.
6. Cook on the stovetop for 2 to 3 minutes without stirring to create a golden brown crust on the bottom of the frittata.
7. Slide the pan right into the oven and continue to cook until the eggs are just set, about 15 minutes.
8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and then invert the frittata onto a plate or cutting board. Slice into wedges and serve warm.
As you can see, this is technically a one pot recipe, easily done in either one of these pieces of cookware or an All-Clad non-stick saute pan. I wanted to make a large batch of caramelized onions (because they are absolutely delicious and why not make extra?), so I chose my 5-quart Le Creuset braiser to complete this task. It is perfect for caramelizing onions because of the large surface area and depth, helping contain the volume of onions.
If I completed the recipe as written in this particular braiser, it would have been thinner and cooked faster due to the larger size. However, this recipe fills a 3-quart braiser or 10 ¼ inch Lodge cast iron skillet perfectly. TA DA! Cue the skillet.
It was merely my gluttonous desire for excess caramelized onions that I didn’t do this recipe from start to finish in the cast iron skillet. Once I was happy with the onions, I transferred them to the skillet and completed the cooking/baking process.
Try not to label these two brands of cookware with the rap that they tend to get (i.e. Le Creuset overpriced and Lodge too hard to maintain).
Since 1925, Le Creuset cast iron has been recognized for its strength and durability. Cast individually in sand molds, then hand-inspected by French artisans, each piece represents a rich heritage and continues a tradition of lasting, authentic design.
Cast iron distributes heat slowly and evenly over the entire vessel, making it ideal for all forms of cooking, whether slow-cooking, roasting, searing, stir-frying or baking.
Smooth Interior Enamel
The glass-like finish in our ovens and braisers promotes caramelization, resists staining and prevents sticking to make cleanup easy.
As the only full line of American-made cast iron cookware, Lodge boasts quality that has been unmatched for over a century. Even heating, a natural easy-release finish, versatility and durability are the hallmarks of this great cookware. They don't just make cast iron; they make heirlooms that bring people together for generations.
Which will you choose? There’s only a few days left in our annual cookware sale. Visit either location of The Chopping Block before the end of January to save 20% off all cookware! Also, check out this article in the Chicago Tribune about essential kitchen tools for winter cooking, featuring yours truly.
If you want hands-on experience working with all of our types of cookware, don't miss our Sauce Boot Camp this Sunday at Lincoln Square.