Plancha is to ‘barbecue like the Spaniards’, which involves cooking at a very high temperature around 280 or 300ºC. This makes plancha cooking fundamentally different from teppanyaki, where you cook with temperatures around 150-170ºC. Because of those high temperatures own sugars caramelize immediately, which makes it naturally tasty!
Temperatures usually required for cooking a la plancha don’t result in the evaporation of liquids, as you would usually see in cooking. Instead, the liquids ‘hover’ on the heat wave above the plancha – meaning that meat, vegetable and fruit juices or marinades never really settle on the cooking surface, but rather get together in pearl form and perform quite a dance on the plancha!
Only aromas, spices and non-liquid ingredients stick to the food; this is known in chemistry as ‘sublimation’, the process of transforming directly from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase. The marinade’s liquid components either flow by themselves into the plancha’s liquid tray or cup, or they are pushed into the tray with a little help from the ‘planchero’ using a spatula – a vital tool in cooking on a plancha.
Just to compare: when you barbecue, it is absolutely essential that cooking sauces and marinades are used sparingly and that excess fat from meat and poultry is trimmed away before grilling in order to control flare-ups and to prevent food from being burned.
Cooking a la plancha, however, encourages you to douse food with marinades, mixtures of all kinds of liquids, and even alcohol – turning the whole cooking experience into a rather wet affair. The food never lies in liquids or fats, since these flow away immediately. Nothing boils, bubbles, ignites, or simmers, but rather broils from the outside while the juices of the meat, fish, vegetables or fruit remain locked inside. It’s more than just eating healthy – it's naturally tasty!
On national TV, in barbecue magazines, or in local press - finally plancha has become a topic worth reporting about!
Planchas with black surfaces reduce the ugly looks until the seasoning has advanced. In fact though, this is part of plancha.
No need to feel lazy: cleaning your plancha is done in a jiffy. All it takes is some water or ice cubes and your spatula!