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What is a Plancha?
If you love the taste of grilled, seared food, a “Plancha” is going to be your new favorite pan. The pan originated in Spain and cooking “a la plancha” literally means “grilled on a metal plate”. Traditional Spanish Planchas are round metal plates, but I’ve found that this rectangle cast iron plancha pan does the trick and is super versatile. I love the fact that it has both a grill and a griddle side.
Cooking on a hot plancha sears your meat on the outside, while keeping it moist and juicy on the inside. I’ve cooked chicken, fish, vegetables, you name it, on mine and I’m amazed by how perfectly everything turns out.
As a bonus, you can use the pan not only on the grill, but also in your oven or on top of your gas range. Have you ever planned to grill out but the weather didn’t cooperate? And you’re left deciding you are going to brave the element and grill anyway or scrap your dinner plans and go a different route? Well, if you have a gas range, you can simply take your “plancha” and lay it across two burners and “grill” your food inside!
How to Use a Plancha
- Place your plancha pan over high heat (pre-heated oven at least 450 F, Grill on high, or gas stove burners on high) and allow it to heat up. I usually let it heat up for about 5 minutes (do not touch the pan to check, it is going to be HOT).
- Brush the pan with olive oil, making sure to coat the entire cooking surface. If you’d like, you can also sprinkle it with coarse salt as well.
- Place your meat or veggies on the pan, keeping the heat on.
- Let your food get a good sear before you flip it over. Ignore the temptation to move it around in the pan. You really only want to flip it once.
- Once the food is cooked through, take it out of the pan and enjoy. I know there are some grilling purists out there who will tell you to never cut or poke into a piece of meat you’ve grilled, because it lets the juices out. Personally, I’m a bit paranoid so I always stick a digital thermometer into the thickest piece of meat and check the temperature. I figure if that piece is done, so is everything else.
Where do I Find Plancha Recipes?
The great news is that, unlike many special pans or appliances, you really do not need to modify your recipes for a plancha griddle. Use your plancha in the same way you would your grill or a hot skillet. This Rosemary Chicken is amazing when cooked on a plancha grill!
How do I Clean a Cast Iron Plancha Griddle/Pan?
You can clean and maintain your Plancha griddle/pan in the same way you do your favorite cast iron pan.
- Wash cast iron by hand using only water and a nylon bristle brush or pan scraper. (If you’ve ever bought stoneware from Pampered Chef, those little brown scrapers that came with it are perfect.)
- Dry the pan immediately with a paper towel. (Most manufacturers will also tell you that you can use a lint free towel but, this will leave black marks on the towel, so I just stick with a disposable paper towel.)
- While the pan is still warm, rub with a very light layer of cooking oil to season it.
I have been loving this plancha grill! Not only does it help food cook super quickly, it also imparts that nice smokey “cast iron flavor”. And, just like your favorite cast iron pan, it will last just about forever as long as you clean and season it appropriately.