In case you don't know (and there's no shame in that!), the broiler is located in the ceiling of the oven, although it's sometimes a separate compartment below the oven in older models. It creates heat and cooks from above - as opposed to the stove top, which cooks from below, or the oven, which creates heat all around.
There will be a separate setting on your oven specifically for the broiler. Ours has both a "high" and "low" setting. We use the high setting for things like our roasted tomatoes and weekend frittatas - anything that requires a relatively quick blast of heat from above. The low setting works well for things like toasting slices of bread for bruschetta or melting the cheese on top of prepared dishes.
With a broiler, we get many of the advantages of the oven - high, consistent heat over a large surface area - without needing to heat the entire oven (or the kitchen). It only takes a few minutes to pre-heat the broiler, and we can adjust the intensity of the broiler by moving the oven rack closer or further away.
Here are a few broiler-friendly recipes from our archives. Give them a try this weekend!
What are your favorite recipes that use a broiler?
(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)