Spanish for “on the griddle,” cooking a la plancha is a great technique for searing meat, fish or vegetables. Using a carbon steel or cast iron plancha on a grill or stovetop, this style of cooking results in a crisp exterior and juicy interior without being overly complicated.
Many large grills or outdoor kitchen setups include a steel or iron flat top, but a simple cast iron griddle placed atop your grill or two stove burners will do the trick.
Bring the plancha to temperature over medium-high flame. Once the griddle begins to smoke, drizzle or squirt a thin layer of olive oil on the metal, add your ingredients using long tongs and sprinkle coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
The gear and food you’ll need for a successful a la plancha
Rocky Mountain Cookware High Handle Griddle
This heavy gauge carbon steel griddle is large enough for a couple of steaks but small enough to fit on any grill or regular home cooktop. The stainless wire handles offer easy placement and lift off to switch back to regular grilling.
Lodge Cast Iron Chef Collection Reversible Grill/Griddle
From the leading name in cast iron cookware, Lodge’s griddle fits perfectly over two stovetop burners, and it works on induction cooktops as well. It can also be used on the grill or directly on a campfire, and the built-in drip tray catches runny grease or marinade.
Twin Eagles Built-In Gas Teppanyaki Griddle
You will be the envy of the neighborhood with the addition of this large cooktop to your outdoor kitchen setup. It has 750 square inches of high powered cooking surface with two separately controlled gas burners and a grease trough for easy cleanup.
Grill Hogs 16-inch Barbecue Tongs
Long enough to keep your hands away from the heat but strong enough for your thickest cuts, these wood-handled tongs are as comfortable to hold as they are stylish. The tong’s lock also functions as a hook, so you can keep them close by and neat when not in use.
Weber Original Wide Spatula
The wide head is equally perfect for a large steak or a lot of small shishito peppers or calamari rings. The long handle means your hand stay cool with even the hottest flame, and the angled neck gets over the grill edge easily.
Use well marbled cuts such as boneless ribeye or New York strip that are between 1 and 1½ inches in thickness. Cook between six to eight minutes total depending on thickness and desired doneness, turning once.
Pair it: Pour a Crianza or Reserva Tempranillo from Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Toro.
Seek out extra-large, shell-on shrimp such as tiger prawns or langostinos. Cook two to three minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges and lots of napkins.
Pair it: Albariño from Rias Baixas is the natural choice for hot shrimp fresh off the griddle.
Have the calamari cleaned at the fish market. Small calamari—under 8 inches in length—can be cooked whole. Anything larger is best sliced into rings. Whole calamari will cook in 3 to 5 minutes, rings no more than three. Serve with lemon halves.
Pair it: Pick up a bottle or two of Godello from Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra or Bierzo.
You can cook Anaheim peppers, red bell peppers, or shishito peppers. If using red bells, look for smaller ones. For Anaheim or bell peppers, cut off top and remove seeds; cook shishitos intact. Cook until skin begins to blister and turn black. Time will vary depending on pepper size and thickness.
Pair It: A juicy Garnacha from Navarra or Priorat is ideal with blistered peppers.