The restaurant as we know it may not have come into existence were it not for the Spaniards and la plancha. A plancha is actually the original flat top grill.  Although the Spanish got the idea for flat top grilling from the Aztecs, who commonly cooked corn dough on flat clay surfaces over an open fire, they adapted it by making a thin, flat surface out of metal (cast-iron or steel). From this, we get not only the flat top grill (every line cook’s best friend), but also the griddle. A plancha can also be a metal, drawer-shaped insert which can be placed on an outdoor grill, in the oven or on the stovetop. 

So if you’re out to tapas and you see sardines à la plancha, it’s just another way of saying grilled sardines. In fact, probably most of food you’re eating out is à la planchapor ejemplo, the eggs and bacon ordered at any diner.  

Use today’s Word of the Day: Seared Salmon with Sauteed Pea Shoots