Common Questions About Gratin Dishes
What constitutes a rarebit dish?
These dishes are defined by their oblong shape, shallow depth, and protrusions that form handles on opposite ends of the basin. They can range from tiny 1-ounce models to large, multiple-serving 34-ounce options, and operators can find the right size for their purpose somewhere in between. Larger dishes are used to cook multiple portions of a meal but can still be used to serve food in a family-style, plate-sharing setting, while the smaller dishes are intended to serve single portions of an order to individual guests.
Rarebit is not a common menu item, but the traditional toasted bread and cheese offering has given its name to this style of dishware. These are perfect for side dishes, adding a touch of elegance to any table setting. Typically white porcelain or China, the low-profile construction enables chefs to showcase carefully crafted food without overwhelming the display. Consider the amount and style of food you plan on serving in these dishes, and ensure your purchase is the right size to complement your menu.
An au gratin dish follows a similar style to a rarebit server. They are low profile so cheese or breadcrumbs can be grated or sprinkled on top of the meal and cover a significant portion of the food. Gratin dishes are versatile, can work as serving or cooking vessels, and come in a variety of styles and materials.
What materials can I choose from?
Your main material choices are ceramic, porcelain, and stainless steel. These differ in their durability, cooking capacity, and aesthetic style, but all of them can function as serving dishes. Some chefs have a particular preference for one cooking material over another, but the most important facet when choosing a gratin dish is ensuring it can stand the heat required to cook your intended meal. If you plan on cooking in them, consult the individual product manuals for each piece to see what temperatures they are rated for, though these ratings don't matter if you will only use these are serving dishes. The aesthetic desirability of each material depends purely on the operator's taste, so consider your existing tableware and choose whichever dish will best match or complement that style. Over the course of use, stainless steel will be the most resistant to damage, while porcelain and ceramic are more likely to break if dropped or slammed about during a warewashing cycle.