In every Mediterranean kitchen there is always a complete range of utensils hanging, stacked or in use! In the Spanish kitchen some of these utensils vary – the paella pan for example, not just one but several are usually hanging seasoned with olive oil ready for the next family fiesta. The pestle and mortar is also very common as is the “Olla” or large round metal pot used for cooking stews and steaming shellfish.
The cazuela though, well what can we say! Every Spanish kitchen has an abundance of them in all sizes – not because they look good but because they are highly functional. The Spanish cazuela has a multitude of uses and can cook a range of dishes the most common being “gambas al pil pil” or chilli garlic prawns. One major benefit of the terracotta cazuela is that it is produced in almost every size from mini 8cm dishes to the enormous examples which can be in excess of three feet!
The cazuela is ideal for cooking indoors and outdoors too, perfectly adaptable to modern cooking methods the cazuela can be placed in the oven, on the gas hob and the barbeque. Larger versions are especially good for creating sautéed vegetable recipes, cooking seafood and meats as well as serving the final dish on a heat proof matt – of course centre stage on the table!
Terracotta adds that Spanish feel to any tapas party or outdoor function, the cazuela is a fairly simple piece of Spanish kitchen equipment which also adds warmth to dishes. Cazuelas are typically rustic being glazed on one side (for the food) and bare terracotta on the underside. Simple servers, smaller sized cazuelas are a very attractive way of serving tapas and raciones, larger varieties are also good for summer salads or serving up that special barbeque mix
Overall the Spanish cazuela is probably the most popular and commonly used piece of equipment in the Mediterranean kitchen. Top tip for your cazuela is to soak in water overnight (just once before the first use) this will prolong its life and afterwards can be used time and time again. The perfect tapas server and kitchen necessity.