While the idea of entertaining may be appealing, it’s not uncommon for the actual process to feel completely overwhelming because after all it’s challenging to cook and coordinate the serving of multiple dishes at one time. Cooking foods that you are comfortable with and doing as much advance prep as possible is key but understanding how to make good use of the tools you are cooking with is just as important.
The great thing about the La Cornue Plaque or French Top is that it is so easy to have 3 – 5 pans with different foods cooking at one time, all you have to do is keep an eye on the pots and turn them from time to time so you don’t build up a hotspot in the part of the pan that is closest to the center. Because the Plaque transfers heat indirectly into the pan from the heated cast-iron, foods are able to develop great flavor without evaporating precious cooking liquids.
In addition to simmering stocks, soups, sauces and stews the indirect heat of the Plaque is also ideal for cooking appetizers on a griddle. Keep in mind that because of the variable heat zones of the plaque the center will be hotter than the edges, so start the appetizers near the center and move them to the edges when you turn them so they can cook evenly. If you need to keep some melted butter handy to brush the griddle just place the plan offset at the back of the plaque.
Once you have everything under control on the plaque then you can put those amazing ovens to good use and roast something delicious to serve with your appetizers or bake a pizza and before you know it you will have orchestrated the preparation of a fabulous feast.