The At-Home Cooking Salamander Hack:
Ever noticed that strange looking kitchen appliance above the ranges in professional kitchens? You see them all of the time on cooking shows like Diners Drive-Ins & Dives.
Have you ever wondered how restaurants get that cheese melted so perfectly on your crock of French Onion Soup? Or how they browned the cheese on top of your Chicken Parmesan to utter perfection?
They do this by using a “Cooking Salamander.” So what is a cooking salamander?
A salamander is a kitchen appliance that is either stand-alone or integrated into a cook top range. Typically it’s positioned up high and out of the way, but it’s one of the most used appliances in just about any restaurant kitchen. You’ll often hear chefs referring to it as, “the Sali.” (pronounced Sally)
So how do you, at home, get the features of a cooking salamander without buying one?
It’s actually pretty simple. You probably already have what you need to create one at-home. You can use your toaster oven set to broil. (Check out this picture on your left taken from my home kitchen.)
That’s right, it’s that simple. Just turn your toaster oven to broil and set the rack to either the lower or middle position. The rack height will depend on the height of the pan or tray you are using to prep your dish. Most mid-sized toaster ovens can handle a 10 inch sauté pan. Do
a dry run to see what works on your toaster oven.
In my setup, I have a Compact Smart Oven by Breville and I’m using a 10-inch Vollrath Pan. I set the rack to the lowest position and slide in my oven-safe pan. I’m using it here to melt some cheese over top of a sweet potato & russet potato home fries blend. Just keep an eye on it. Don’t walk away from your Sali because you WILL end up burning your food.
So the next time you need to brown some cheese on your onion soup, or melt down a blue cheese crumble on top of your steak, turn to your trusted toaster oven broiler to get the job done.