Salamander a noun but also a verb, indicating the use of a salamander to brown the top of a dish, often giving it at the same time a crisp crust. The equipment consisted of an iron disc mounted on the end of an iron rod, furnished with a wooden handle. The disc was heated red-hot, then passed to and fro over and close to the dish to be ‘salamandered’, often a crème brûlée or a gratin. Rather than using an old-fashioned salamander, a chef today may well deploy a hand-held gas blowlamp. Nowadays, salamander most likely refers to a gas or electric grill which cooks from above, not below, the food.