The term “cataplana” refers not only to the utensil but also to the dishes that are prepared in it.
Little is known about the origins of the cataplana. Owing to its similarity with the Moroccan tajine, in both shape and cooking method, it is thought to have appeared in the Algarve during the period of Arab dominance.
The current version of the cataplana is attributed to coppersmith Ricardo Pinguinha Guerreiro, who perfected the design in copper and made it more hermetic.
It is increasingly difficult to find copper cataplanas. Nowadays, they are usually made of stainless steel, which makes them easier to clean.
Whatever material they are made from, cataplanas never lose their qualities, one of the main ones, for example, being the use of little fat.
But rather than just talking about the advantages of the cataplana, it is much better to try them out, be it as a cook or as someone with an interest in cuisine.