Friday, 16 October 2015

Tefal OptiGrill

As much as I try to sway my family towards eating more vegetarian meals, we are still pretty much omnivores. In the last few weeks I have been testing Tefal OptiGrill, which is just the right kitchen appliance for anyone who's trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Tefal OptiGrill is an electric kitchen appliance for grilling. Tefal promises you can cook a restaurant quality steak with OptiGrill (but more about that later).
You can also cook food straight from the freezer on it.
It retails at £124.99- £150 (depending on the retailer, so have a good look around first if you decide to buy it). At this price, it is more expensive than some other brands of grills.
Is it a good investment?
The first thing I noticed, having unpacked the box, is the sheer size of it. It's a bit of a Hulk in the kitchen, and weighs quite a bit. I had to find space in my already over-crowded kitchen.
It is sturdy and solid, and looks stylishly industrial.

Its key features are an automatic sensor cooking with a thickness measurement and a LED cooking indicator.
There is plenty of room for several pieces of meat, or vegetables.
The handle makes it easy to open and close the metal lid, which presses the food down for even cooking.
Instructions in a small booklet are clear and easy to follow, even for technophobes like me.
Guide to LED colours tells you exactly when the cooking starts, then the colours change as the food is being cooked from rare to medium to well done.
Guide to cooking programmes lets you choose a variety of settings - burger, bacon, poultry, red meat, fish, sausage or manual mode.

Non-stick plates have large grooves which leave a distinct pattern on the grilled food. The lower plate is slightly sloping down for any excess fat or juice to pour into a removable juice collection tray.
As I have mentioned already, the grill is easy to clean. You can unclip the plates and wash them under the tap (or dishwasher). You can also leave it until later (and I do mean much later, like the next day) for cleaning.
Sensor cooking adapts the cooking temperature according to the chosen setting and the thickness of the food.

The first food I have cooked with OptiGrill was a batch of chicken mini-fillets, which came in a pack, already marinated with mango and chilli flavour (found in Tesco). The chicken cooked really fast, with a nice grilled pattern over it.

I served them with a cider and cream sauce and grilled peppers.

Kebabs were also grilled to perfection.

For me this gadget proved that it's worth every penny just for the beautiful way it works with sweet peppers. We all love sweet peppers which acquire the most intense sweetness after being grilled. They need a tiny bit of oil. Be careful when you place the pepper pieces over the grill, as they might be slipping down. They don't need much seasoning. I have already cooked sweet peppers several times, using OptiGrill, with different oils, including a chilli-flavoured olive oil.

Mixed grilled
sweet peppers

Overall, we had perfect results with almost every meal I cooked, using OptiGrill. Except that my steaks were a failure. I have clearly overcooked them. I did cook them as well done, but they were thin to start with, and turned out as tough as old boots. If anything, my boots are softer. I'm just not good at cooking steaks.
My husband has politely eaten half of his steak, and said "Sorry, I'm not very hungry". Then polished a whole baguette. I don't blame him.
I will try again, choosing a medium setting next time.

What else did I try to cook on OptiGrill? Burgers were juicy and tender cooked on medium. What is great about OptiGrill cooking is that all the extra fat melts and slides down onto a mini tray which collects all fat and juice.
Just the other day I cooked chorizo-flavoured burgers, and assembled a tower with a poppy seed roll, grilled peppers, burger and mango. It you like a combination of meat and fruit, this is totally lush. Sweetness of mango and peppers goes very well with the smoky spicy flavours of chorizo.

I would definitely recommend OptiGrill - it is easy to use and as easy to clean, it collects all the juice and fat, it allows you to cook healthier foods as it uses less oil, and it is suitable for a wide range of foods.
The only con I can think of is its size. Yet, if the kitchen space is not an issue, then there is nothing to complain about.
It would make a super gift for any foodie.

Disclosure: I received Tefal OptiGrill for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.

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