I may have just wrecked my cast iron skillet. Is that even possible?
In Good to the Grain Kim Boyce recommends letting a cast iron skillet smoke over high heat for five minutes to neutralize savory flavors so that you can use it for sweet dishes. I'd been debating whether to get a second cast iron skillet but I thought I'd try this first.
This morning I turned the burner to high and let the pan smoke for five minutes. Nothing much seemed to happen except that a yucky smell started coming off the pan. I thought, surely whatever is making that smell should be allowed to completely burn off so I let it go five more minutes, for a total of ten minutes over high heat.
When I turned off the heat I noticed that the surface of the skillet was covered in crackly patches where it looks like the top layer has peeled off (see photo). It also smells AWFUL. What happened?! I couldn't have damaged the cast iron itself, could I? I'm also confused about where the smell is coming from. I don't do anything weird with my skillet. I wipe it out with a sponge or a paper towel after use, give it the rare and quick scrub with soap if something is stuck on for some reason, always dry it with a towel or over low heat so that it won't rust, and season it once a month or so with veg shortening or coconut oil.
I'm thinking I should scrub off the flakes and re-season the pan a few billion times but I thought I'd see if there are any cast iron experts out there with a better idea.
Thanks in advance!