1. A kitchen tool used to brown the top of foods. It consists of a long iron rod with a cast-iron disk at one end and a wooden handle at the other. The disk is heated over a burner until red-hot before being passed closely over food. In addition to quickly browning foods, salamanders are used for dishes (such as crème brûlée) that require that a surface layer of sugar be caramelized quickly so that the custard below remains cold. They can be purchased in cookware shops and the kitchenware section of most department stores. 2. A small broiler unit in a professional oven that quickly browns the tops of dishes.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.