We’re throwing it all away for the plancha! Born in Spain, this alternative to the barbecue has given its name to a short and intense cooking that enhances the flavor of fish, meat, vegetables and fruit. From the starter to the dessert, everything can be cooked thanks to this ally of the summer tables.
Hot in front!
Did you know that?
In its rudimentary version, the plancha would have appeared in Spain in the 19th century. A plate of sheet metal placed on the embers and the trick was played. This simplistic cooking surface made it possible to cook large quantities of food in the open air. The process has evolved over time.
Nowadays, of varying sizes, the plancha is used in tapas bars, in large restaurants as well as at home, where it can be enjoyed both summer and winter both outdoors and indoors.
How to be well equipped?
Electric or gas? The first option is for those who wish to cook all year round, at home, or enjoy their plancha in a veranda, on a balcony or even at the campsite.
A griddle must be able to seize food between 250 and 300°C: a power of 2,000 watts minimum is therefore recommended. The gas griddle allows you not to worry about the connection. It is therefore ideal for the terrace and the garden. There are also very practical planchas to be placed on an induction hob.
The choice of material. In aluminium, cast iron, stainless steel, titanium… The choice is vast. Enameled cast iron and stainless steel have the advantage of not rusting.
The right size. Meat or fish seized on one side, vegetables or potatoes that finish cooking on the other. A large griddle provides not only a more comfortable cooking area, but also areas where the heat release is varied.
3 keys for a top plancha
1 – Before starting a firing, make sure that the plancha has reached its cruising temperature (after about 10 minutes of heating) by pouring a few drops of water. These should turn into small balls that roll on the cooking surface.
2 – Healthy cooking method, the plancha does not need superfluous fat. Never grease the platebut only those foods that require it. Preferably do this before cooking by covering them with a little oil with a kitchen brush, and during cooking if necessary.
3 – Aromatic herbs fresh, fragile, do not mix well with intense cooking methods. Keep them close to your cooking surface, already cut, and garnish freshly seared meats, fish and vegetables just before serving to preserve the intensity of their aroma.
On the other hand, dry herbs such as thyme, rosemary or “Provencal” mix will stand up well to cooking and will embalm the neighborhood!
Master the art of marinade
To bring softness and aroma to your meats, fish and vegetables, do not hesitate to offer them a marinade (30 minutes minimum). From a base of olive oil, you can add pressed lemon juice, garlic, wine, spices (curry, cumin, five spices…). Honey and soy sauce will add a caramelized note to your preparations while cooking. However, be careful of the residues that these two ingredients can leave when heated.
Make sure to degrease the griddle after cooking.
Fruits and vegetables at the party
Simple and healthy, the plancha cooking is ideal for fruits and vegetables. Our advice to cook them well.
Pre-cooking. A cooking method quite similar to the wok, the plancha seizes food quickly, preserving most of the nutrients. That said, to guarantee a soft texture, some vegetables, such as carrots or green beans, benefit from being cut up and pre-cooked for 4 minutes in boiling water (known as “blanching”) before being seized with the plancha. For potatoes, you can go from 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time depending on the size. Sticks, slices, quarters… Vary the cut. You can brush them with a little olive oil and salt them before finishing cooking them à la plancha.
Raw cooking. To keep their crunchy or their initial fondant, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, fennel, onions, tomatoes … can be cooked as is on the plancha. Fondants or al dente? Adjust their cooking time according to your taste.
Don’t forget the fruit ! Pineapple, apricot, apple, pear, peach-nectarine, banana, fig: all lend themselves wonderfully to the plancha … They will be both caramelized and lightly stewed. To compose an elegant and simple to prepare minute dessert, garnish them with a homemade syrup, a ball of homemade sorbet accompanied by fruit or a strawberry or raspberry coulis, a few sprigs of rosemary, mint leaves or fresh basil.
The right baking times
- Thick meat (rib steak, pavé…): 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
- The fish. 1 to 2 minutes per side for fillets (sardine, mackerel, red mullet…) and 10 to 15 minutes for a one-sided baked paving stone.
- The crustaceans (prawns, shrimps…). From 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size.
- The skewers. From 10 minutes (red meats) to 20 minutes (white meats) taking care to alternate the faces on the plate.
- The vegetables. 7 to 8 minutes are enough.
- The fruits. From 7 minutes (pineapple, pear …) to 15 minutes (apple, apricot …).
According to a file www.lesfruitsetlegumesfrais.com