A French term that refers to the process of browning foods, such as a casserole or various potato and vegetable dishes, under a broiler oven, a hot oven or a cooking torch to produce a brown crust. This process is aided with the addition of sauce made from butter, cheese, and/or breadcrumbs spread or sprinkled if dry, over the top of the food. A piece of cookware commonly used to hold the food for this process is a Gratine dish made from aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, copper, enameled iron, stoneware, porcelain, or glass. It is traditionally made as a shallow sided container that is oval in shape, but it may also be a round or rectangular-shaped dish. The Gratiné pan or dish allows the food to cook evenly and at the same speed as the crust while it browns. When the crust begins to appear as if it will crack prior to completely baking, squirt or sprinkle several tablespoons of water on the walls of the hot broiler in order to create steam to keep the crust moist.
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