Seasoning unglazed clay pots
Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:50 AM
I understand that unglazed clay pots need to be seasoned so that they don't crack in the first use. But how exactly does olive oil, garlic, vinegar or molasses contribute to that goal? And is this the only reason why we season them?
Thanks in advance for any replies!
Posted 10 January 2013 - 07:46 AM
Here is what La Tienda.com has to say about "curing" a cazuela...
Soak the entire dish in water to cover for 12 hours. Drain and wipe dry. Rub the unglazed bottom with a cut clove of garlic (we are not sure how the garlic works, but why argue with tradition?) Fill the dish with water to 1/2 inch below the rim, then add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Place the dish on a flame-tamer over low heat and slowly bring the water to a boil.
Let the liquid boil down until only about 1/2 cup remains. Cool slowly and wash. Your cazuela is ready for use - the garlic has created a seal. This technique has been used since the middle ages. It seasons the pot, kills bacteria, and hardens the unglazed parts.
Especially if you intend to use the cazuela to cook strong flavored fish or seafood, after soaking, rub the inside of the base and lid with olive oil and put into a preheated 300 degree oven for 1.5 hours. Turn off the heat and let cool. Either method will strengthen your cazuela.
I imagine there are a variety of methodologies for your perusal out there on the internet.