Using a drier, starchier potato such as Idaho, and rinsing away the excess starch is a sure-fire way to crispy, golden hash browns. Butter helps both browning and flavor, while oil lowers the smoke point, allowing your pan to do the steady, even cooking needed for perfectly crisped potatoes.
Get the recipe: Potato Hash Browns.
2. Asparagus & Feta Strata
Many strata recipes rely on an overnight soak in the refrigerator to soften the bread and meld flavors before baking the next morning. But a long stint in the fridge with wet ingredients isn’t ideal for your cast-iron. Instead, lightly toasting fresh bread and giving it a short soak in the custard while preparing the rest of the ingredients cuts down on advance planning while still delivering classic strata creaminess.
Get the recipe: Asparagus & Feta Strata
3. Skillet Mac & Cheese
Comfort food doesn’t get more simple or savory than this one-skillet side dish. Toasted breadcrumbs provide crunch as well as extra bite with smoked paprika. Cheddar makes for an old-fashioned baked mac & cheese with crispy edges and a gooey center, but just about any cheese would work well in its place.
Get the recipe: Skillet Mac & Cheese.
4. Raspberry Almond Linzer Tart
Any seasonal summer stone fruit or berries and corresponding jam can be substituted for the raspberry filling, while the almonds can be replaced with walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts. Taking a few extra minutes to toast the nuts before making the dough pays off with a slightly crisper texture and more intensely nutty flavor.
Get the recipe: Raspberry Almond Linzer Tart.