The Art of Seasoning a Volcanic Stone Comal
In Mexican cuisine, the volcanic stone comal is a fundamental utensil that has been used for centuries to cook tortillas, roast chilies, and prepare a wide variety of traditional dishes. But before using a new comal, it is important and highly recommended to follow the seasoning process to ensure its good performance and durability.
Seasoning the comal is a crucial process that involves sealing and strengthening the surface of the utensil to prevent food from sticking and to provide a protective layer. Additionally, seasoning helps enhance flavors and maintain the authenticity of the dishes cooked on the comal.
Here are the steps to effectively season a comal:
- Initial cleaning: Wash the new comal with hot water and mild, unscented soap to remove any manufacturing residue. Dry it thoroughly.
- Gradual heating: Place the comal on the stove over low heat and heat it slowly for about 15 minutes. This will help eliminate any residual moisture and open up the pores on the surface.
- Application of oil: Remove the comal from the heat and apply a thin layer of vegetable oil on the entire surface, including the edges. You can use a paper towel or a kitchen brush to evenly distribute the oil.
- Final heating: Place the comal back on the stove over low heat and heat it for approximately 30 minutes. This will allow the oil to adhere and form a protective layer on the comal's surface.
- Cooling and repetition: Remove the comal from the heat and let it cool completely. Repeat the steps of oil application and heating several times to strengthen the protective layer.
Once you have seasoned your volcanic stone comal, it is important to follow some tips for its care and maintenance:
- Gentle cleaning: After each use, clean the comal with warm water and a soft sponge. Avoid using harsh detergents that could damage the seasoning layer; a mild, unscented soap is recommended.
- Proper drying: Make sure to completely dry the comal after washing it to prevent rust formation. You can use a clean kitchen towel or dry it over low heat for a few minutes.
- Periodic re-seasoning: Over time, the seasoning layer may wear off. To maintain cooking quality, it is advisable to repeat the seasoning process periodically, especially if you notice that the food starts sticking again.