A La Plancha

A Spanish secret: a la Plancha

Spain may have invented paella at a time of food shortages, when rice was easy to come by and olive oil free flowing......

But fortunately for its overweight population, it has also invented the Plancha (Cast iron grill)! This is used for cooking directly on a cast-iron hot plate whose features create great cooking conditions. The Plancha sears meats like no other method does. It seals in the meat's juices, ensuring it is safe and properly cooked through to the center without letting any of this juice escape. A "Churrasco à la Plancha", a sort of thick and relatively lean sirloin steak is one of the foods in my diet and a dish that is fit for a king. It's the same for round eye steaks. As for fish it gets even better. Royal Dorade à la Plancha is the signature dish of Spanish summertime cooking. Make firm diagonal cuts on both sides of this fat-free fish and without adding anything to it besides a tiny bit of salt it turns this fish into a gastronomic master piece. But even better than meat and fish are vegetables cooked à la Plancha which are the real secret. Wipe on a few drops of olive oil with a paper towel. Try placing side by side lovely large slices of eggplant, some large tomatoes and mild onions. Cut some zucchini in two and why not try some endives too, and just let the Plancha do the rest. Where can you buy a Plancha? Try Crate & Barrel – or have a look on the internet. Choose a Plancha that is wide enough, as you'll find you need the width to fit in your vegetables. What's more, the Plancha has the advantage of being one of the quickest ways of cooking. So go on, give it a try!