Comal [koe-MAHL], noun: A flat, round griddle used in traditional Mexican cooking to prepare tortillas, sear meat, and toast spices, among other cooking. They are typically made of cast iron, but can also be made of terra cotta (comal de barro), as in the image above.
Like a favorite cast iron skillet, a well-seasoned comal gives food that little extra hint of flavor you can't get any other way! Have you ever cooked with one or been served food cooked on one?
Comals come in several sizes, from small enough to fit over a single burner on the stove to large enough to cook several tortillas at once. As long as they're made of cast iron or terra cotta, they can be used on a gas or electric stove top, in the oven, over a grill, or even even directly over hot coals. Both versions need to be seasoned and should only be cleaned with warm water and a kosher salt scrub.
Looking for comals online revealed only a few sources, but nearly identical round cast-iron griddles are also readily available:
• Imusa Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Comal from Amazon, $9.99
• Comal 10-Inch Cast Iron Plate from MexGrocer, $19.95
• Round Griddle from Lodge, $22.95
What we'd really love to find is a comal made of terra cotta. A friend of ours had one that she'd bought years ago while in Mexico and it was a beautiful piece of kitchen equipment. Does anyone know where we could find one - short of planning a vacation to Mexico?
Related: Hot or Not: Frittata Pans from Williams Sonoma
(Image: Flickr member hdaniel licensed under Creative Commons and MexGrocer)