Soapstone is a metamorphic rock primarily composed of talc
and magnesite. This material is highly resistant to temperature
and has an impressive ability to accumulate heat. Both slabs
and actual pots can be made with this material. The slabs,
usually quite thick, can be positioned above the embers of
the barbecue or fireplace. They are usually made with a metal
frame, to make them stable for use in the fireplace, and with
handles so they can be moved.
Ideal for cooking meat, fish and vegetables. Pots and pans made from soapstone are suitable for slow cooking dishes that are stewed and braised in a sauce. Thanks to its high thermal capacity, once the soapstone pot is heated, it maintains a constant and uniform temperature.
Some of its negative aspects include its considerable weight and the fact that it takes a long time to heat up and then cool. In fact, the temperature of soapstone must be increased gradually with any type of heat source (BBQ, gas, fireplace).
Foods can be cooked without adding fat. The cost of this type of cookware is high and significantly superior to that of a normal saucepan in non-stick aluminium.
The first time you use a soapstone utensil it should be washed with salt water and dried carefully. Do not wash with detergents. The utensil should then be greased with olive oil that is left on for one day.
It is recommended to heat the utensil gradually over a heat source making sure that the flame is evenly distributed over the entire surface to avoid different dilations that may cause breakage. When used on a gas stove a heat diffuser must be used. A soapstone utensil should never be cooled using cold water, but allowed to cool slowly. Once it is warm, clean with a cloth soaked in vinegar and a scraper or iron brush.
All the materials mentioned in this guide are regulated by the following laws, directives and guidelines that can be downloaded from the following links of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and the COE (Council of Europe): downloadable at the following link:EFSA COE Download the pdf guide