La Cotta clay pot with no instructions
I purchased this oval shaped La Cotta clay pot at a garage sale with no instruction book. Can't find anything about it on the Internet, so I'm stuck. Can I heat in on a gas burner or only cook in the oven? And how hot can it get....450, 500??? Need recipes for it. Thanks!
These were the original instructions that came with that La Cotta Clay cooker, the first paragraphs were of an enthusiastic user of this grill, then the instructions, and 3 recipes:
Instructions for La Cotta Grill
Urban Ore is an enormous salvage warehouse in Berkeley, California, that’s cold and smells like cat pee. If you dig an item up that hasn't been priced, you’re at the whims of a guy who may or may not have just finished smoking a blunt, indifferent to your question if not to the fact of your presence there. The price he tells you is a number he makes up on the spot—well, all the prices at a thrift store are arbitrary. But the staff at Urban Ore often seems particularly hazy about the true value of their merchandise.
That was the case with this odd-looking pan I bought there four, maybe five, years ago. Its arbitrary price: $8. Its value in my kitchen: way higher than for pans I've dropped three figures on at Sur La Table.
I fished my baby out of a bin full of badly stained Revere Ware you’d never even think of boiling rags in, much less rigatoni. It looked unused: two oval, concave terracotta plates in a flimsy hinged frame and black plastic handles that slip off easily. “La Cotta,” it read.
I found instructions inside, on a slip of paper. In English with the ring of Italian translation, they suggested soaking it in water before first use, then heating it up slowly over a low flame, without oil or other fat. It was called “La Bisquera.”
Since then I’ve used my Bisquera at least a couple times a month. It’s the best thing in my kitchen, capable of searing meats better than even spun-steel or cast-iron frying pans, then cooking them through so they stay juicy. I heat it over a medium-high flame, scatter coarse salt over the pan's surface, and drop in well-marbled pork chops or chicken breasts with the skin left on. The instructions call for leaving the lid ajar (I prop it open with a cork I balance on the bottom handle). Possibly the best part, besides the texture of the meat, is the jus that forms in the pan. Fantastic. No other sauce is ever necessary.
Googling “La Cotta” and "La Bisquera" hasn’t yielded much—two or three equally curious users, Chowhounds and others, but no information about where La Bisquera was made, or when. Too bad. Then again, maybe I like the mystery that shrouds it, and the flutter of possibility, whenever trolling the sour atmosphere of Urban Ore, that I'll find something just as sweet. I'm still looking.
Preparing your La Bisquera for Use
Because it is made of natural materials, your LB is practically care-free. However, if you follow these few simple steps, you’ll find it gives you years and years of dependable service:
Step: 1: To assure perfect results simply run luke warm water over both pans inside and outside each time you are ready to use the LB.
Step 2: When you are ready to cook, place the wet LB over medium flame.
Step 3: Place your steak, cutlets, chops or meat in grill, sprinkle with salt, pepper and any herbs.
Allow ¼ “ gap between top and bottom to allow steam to escape
Fold the hinged top of unit down over foo. Allow q/4” gap between top and bottom to permit steam to escape. . .be certain that you follow this step.
Use either side of the LB. The top as to prevent splashing. . .if you find the LB closes tightly, merely twist the hinged top so that a ¼” gap remains to allow steam to escape. Use either side but do not flip LB when cooking. Just open the top and turn the meat.
After you have finished cooking with the LB remove the pan from the heat and allow it to remain until it is cool to the touch. Once cool, wash thoroughly in ot water. Do not use soap or souring powders.
The LB is designed primarily for dry grilling, not pan frying or sauté cookery. Do not add butter, fat or oil when cooking a normally marbled steak or chop. A very thin, extra lean steak may be rubbed lightly with a drop or two of olive oil on each side 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. Extra-thick cuts may be rarinated if desired. In general, any desired condiments should be used after cooking. A deepening of color of the terra cotta will occur as the grill Is used. This does not affect results in any manner.
Filets de boeuf au naturel
3 or 4 small filet steaks ¾” to 1” thick, coarse salt, coarse-ground pepper, fine herbs, finely chopped. Allow steaks to reach room temperature before cooking. Press pepper into both surfaces of each steak with heel of hand. Sprinkle bottom of the LB with salt, add steaks and sprinkle salt on top surface. Dust lightly with herb mix. If desired, close grill follow instructions. Serve with Sauce Bernaise or Maitre d’Hotel butter.
Grilled Chicken Patties
2 Cups of uncooked chicken, 1 med sized egg, ¼ teas rosemary, 1 tsp chopped onion, ¾ c soft bread crumbs, ½ c melted sweet butter. Mince chicken finely with sharp knife. Beat egg until well blended. Pour butter into mixing bowl, add crumbs, onion, rosemary. Stir in chopped chicken and fold in egg. Blend. Shape into 8 patties. Place 4 at a time in LB and grill 4-6 minutes on each side. Serve on toast, open face with hollandaise.
King Edward’s Lamb Cutlets
Allow 1 sirloin 1 to 1 ½” thick for each guest. Trim excess fat and coat with seasoned crumbs. Dip in well beaten egg and coat liberally with more crumbs. Sprinkle coarse salt in bottom of LB and place cutlets therein. Close grill over high flame, turning every 3 minutes until medium-well done. Serve with chilled fresh mayonnaise.
Use another LB if exclusively for fish or sea food. Otherwise, soak grill in 3 changes of water after preparing strong flavored fish.