Talk about tradition...what about rustic cook & serve terra cotta cazuela dishes, known as Cazuelas Valencianas, that replicate classical Roman bowls?
They have the same proportioned design; are made from the same source of clay in the Pyrenees; and are fashioned the same as they were in the time of Julius Caesar!
But these are more than a work of art. These sturdy, rustic Cook & Serve cazuelas are a chef’s best friend when you are cooking in the kitchen with your goal being “Hot things hot”.
What makes them extraordinary is that these terra cotta dishes are made following the classical tradition of “refractory” clay, where the potters blend tiny heat retaining pebbles into the terra cotta clay.
When you bring to the table your piping hot casserole, stew or individual servings of sizzling garlic shrimp, it stays hot for an amazing period of time! And when you serve your ice cold gazpacho or fresh fruit compote – it will stay chilled too.
When you are not cooking, you can use these attractive rustic cazuelas to serve individual portions of cold tapas, olives, almonds, pico bread sticks and more.
These rustic traditional cazuelas are of unparalleled quality. As they are made by hand, the measurements are not exact.
A health note: No need to worry about the glaze on the cazuelas; it contains no lead and is perfectly safe for all applications. Ours is the only potter in Spain that uses photo-atomic analysis to assure that the products are cadmium-free and lead-free. The FDA requirement for a product being “lead-free” is one part per million (PPM). Our cazuelas have less than three hundredths (03) parts per million (PPM).
How to Cure Your New Cazuela for Cooking:
If you are planning on cooking with your cazuela, you will need to soak and cure it using the following directions.
Soak the entire dish in water to cover for 12 hours. Drain and wipe dry. Rub the unglazed bottom with a cut clove of garlic (we are not sure how the garlic works, but why argue with tradition?) Fill the dish with water to 1/2 inch below the rim, then add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Place the dish on a flame-tamer over low heat and slowly bring the water to a boil (no flame tamer? Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil and create a ring that you place over your burner to create about an inch of space between the heat and the cazuela).
Let the liquid boil down until only about 1/2 cup remains. Cool slowly and wash. Your cazuela is ready for use - the garlic has created a seal. This technique has been used since the Middle Ages. It seasons the pot, kills bacteria and hardens the unglazed parts.
Especially if you intend to use the cazuela to cook strong flavored fish or seafood, after soaking, rub the inside of the base with olive oil and put into a preheated 300 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the heat and let cool. Either method will strengthen your cazuela.
To clean, soak in sudsy water and scrub with a soft brush to remove any hardened food.
If you have not used the cazuela for an extended period of time, you may need to re-cure it before use.