Having recently observed Father’s Day in the U.S. (I Love You, Dad,) hands down a beautiful and timeless gift my Dad instilled in me is the art of grilling. As a young boy up to now, my Dad and I always communed around a grill. Grilling with my Dad was a sacred and special time. Over the years our grills changed in quality and sophistication, yet the underlying principle stayed consistent, to bond with each other and nourish our souls through flame and food.
Father’s Day 2018, Wagyu Styled Beef grilled a la plancha:
We employed many different techniques over the years, and by far grilling a la plancha produces the most consistently flavorful and succulent food. Plancha means “plate” and has enjoyed popularity in Spain, France and especially with the Argentine Gauchos. For inspiration from a true grilling artist, snap up a copy of Argentine Chef Francis Mallmann’s Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way.
The most cost effective way to grill al la plancha is to obtain a large cast iron griddle or skillet (also known as a chapa) from Lodge, or Le Creuset and place directly over your heat source (gas, wood or lump charcoal.) A plancha will heat up quickly and be ready for action in under 10 minutes. Next you will need a high quality food thermometer, a Laser Infrared Thermometer (for the geek in you) to check your plancha’s approximate temperature, and lastly high quality food ingredients.
To begin your plancha adventures, go with a classic in simplicity: Garlic Shrimp (Gambas a La Plancha con Ajo): Procure large shrimp (or prawns) with the shells on (make sure you devein,) several cloves of chopped garlic, dried chili pepper chopped into small flakes & high quality olive oil. Marinate for 2 hours, drain shrimp when ready and grill on the plancha for about 10 minutes while turning the shrimp occasionally. Salt and Pepper to taste and serve immediately with fresh squeezed lemons.
This summer (and year round) give grilling a la plancha an honest go. I think you may find you prefer this method over standard grate grilling. Do it Live!