A pancake pan is for more than just pancakes
If you’ve seen Chef Harold Villarosa’s mouth-watering videos of okonomiyaki steak and grilled adobo cheese on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel, you might have noticed that one of his must-have pieces of equipment is a Presto Electric Nonstick Pancake Griddle. . Villarosa’s twin hotplates allow her to cook comfortably just about anywhere. Although we’ve all made a stack of ‘takes’ on the handy portable device, in these videos Villarosa completely reinvents their use, using one more traditionally as a dish for direct cooking and the other instead of cooking. a burner for pots and pans.
Villarosa’s love of griddle runs deep. “Five years ago, I started working with students in New York to teach them how to cook. The Department of Education wouldn’t allow us to use cafeteria kitchens, so I had to create mobile kitchens in school libraries and auditoriums,” he explains. He therefore gathered equipment for his teaching kitchens: a cutting board, an immersion blender and two electric crepe makers which could replace the flat grills essential to professional kitchens.
“These griddles sear perfectly,” he says. “If you bake salmon skin in it, it gets super crispy. I worked a lot on this thing: charred onions and a steak, a whole fish. Anything you would cook on a flat, baking steel pan or cast iron griddle, you can cook on Harold’s Presto. Smash burgers, breakfast, grilled cheese, everything is good.
But there’s more to the griddle than just searing and crisping. Villarosa uses them as he would on a stovetop, instead of a portable gas or induction burner. “If you have a pancake griddle and turn the heat up to high, you can put pans on that hot pan.” In his okonomiyaki steak video, the chef uses the griddle as a heating surface for his non-stick frying pan, in which he cooks the okonomiyaki pancake. In the grilled cheese video, he braises his chicken adobo in a heavy-bottomed pan on top of the Presto. He even put it to work making a whole pasta dinner with the students. Together, they boiled handmade agnolotti stuffed with butternut squash in one pot and finished it with a sage-brown butter sauce in another, all on the griddle.
Villarosa recommends electric hot plates for anyone who might cook in a non-traditional kitchen but still have access to a power source – college students who don’t want to fight for space in the communal dorm kitchen, homeowners who are waiting for a kitchen renovation or even the inhabitants of an apartment waiting for their gas to be turned on. He also thinks grilling could benefit anyone who has access to traditional cooking but lacks it. “Some apartments without gas have electric stoves that take forever to heat up and usually don’t distribute the heat evenly.” A quality plug-in hot plate is a step up.