Widely used in Mexican and Latin American cooking, a comal (pronounced koh-mahl), is a round or oblong flat griddle with a shallow rim. Originally made of clay but now more commonly made of cast iron or steel, it's used for cooking tortillas as well as toasting spices, chiles, and vegetables. Much like a cast-iron skillet, a cast-iron comal is passed from generation to generation because its patina only gets better with use. Although a skillet can be used in place of a comal, it's easy to burn the side of your hand on its higher sides while flipping tortillas or chiles. A flat griddle, whether cast iron, steel, or nonstick, is a better substitute.