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The Bookshelf: Paula Wolfert's Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking



November 04, 2009


Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking For a special installment of Beard on Books, JBF Award winner Paula Wolfert will be sitting down to discuss her new cookbook Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking. We'll be sure to report back on her discussion of this elemental technique; for now, we have a short primer about the myriad vessels employed in clay pot cooking. If you want to delve into the world of cooking with traditional clay pots, Wolfert recommends  adding these basic pots to your kitchen battery: Spanish cazuela: The round, earthenware cazuelas of Spain are glazed all over, and can be placed in the oven or on top of the stove. Wolfert describes the cazuela as a sturdy workhorse, acting as a Mediterranean stand-in for skillets. Romertopf clay baker: This vessel dons a domed cover, making it something of a miniature oven. Romertoph pots are soaked in water before cooking, which helps to create a moist environment for your ingredients to steam in. Chinese sandpot: Lidded and round, these pots from China are wrapped in metal wires, which encourages an equal distribution of heat. Sandpots are efficient, inexpensive, and readily available, so they are a great for cooks who are experimenting with clay pot cooking for the first time. Wolfert suggest using them to prepare stews, soups, beans and rice dishes. Clay casserole: Another vessel used for preparing hearty soups and stews, clay casserole dishes can be made of earthenware or flameware. Micaceous cooking pot: Not only do these pots heat up quickly and retain heat for a long time, the mica deposits in the clay also add some unexpected sparkle. Vessels made of micaceous material can scratch easily, so don't use metallic utensils for stirring or serving.