Poor salt. It has really gotten a bad reputation over the years.
But I’m here to clear some things up. That table salt you use? Probably this stuff here, is no good for you. Because it has been chemically refined. Long term overuse has health risks such as kidney stones, high blood pressure, etc. In fact when you’re done here, head on over to THIS SITE and read all about table salt and the risk factors associated with it.
Meanwhile, natural salt such as: rock salt, sea salt is good for you. In fact, salt contains minerals that are essential for you to carry on living. If you interpret that as needing to take a dip in the ocean, then you have my full support (as long as I’m invited).
A worthwhile investment for your kitchen? A salt grinder. And fill it with some yummy rock or sea salt. And now that we’ve cleared up the myth surrounding salt, we need to learn to use it properly.
In the kitchen, salt has magical powers. Your “Spock is not impressed” face tells me you want some examples. Very well then *leans back in chair, cracks knuckles*
Salt can improve flavor, preserve food, fill in for ingredients, radically alter a dish’s flavor, and generally blow your mind with unorthodox combinations (sea salt & chocolate anyone?) Here’s a few random uses:
- If you’re cooking pasta, salt the water heavily. You will thank yourself.
- Blanching, boiling, poaching vegetables = Add salt to your water
- Most protein doesn’t need anything but a good sprinkling of sea salt & cracked black pepper
- Brines! A brine is a cold saltwater marinade to preserve and tenderize meat.
- A light dusting of coarse sea salt on a finished dish for some extra texture
But where we want to use salt the most is in different stages of our cooking. Adding a pinch here or there to correct the seasonings (remember taste as you go!).
When you do a taste test and think “Hmmm…what does this need?” 99% of the time, it’s salt.
You see, salt is THAT guy on your team. He’s not spectacular at any one thing, but he’s a workhorse. He’s a hustle player that inspires the rest of the team to bring their best. The “glue” guy. That is why you see salt as an ingredient in almost every recipe on the planet whether it’s a Red Velvet Cake or an Orange & Grapefruit Salad.
Salt draws out moisture & breaks things down. So that the onions in your spaghetti sauce are nice and soft instead of hard & crunchy. One of the best things to ever happen in a kitchen? Onions, Carrots, & Celery sauteing in melted butter with a liberal sprinkling of salt. If I could have that smell permeate my entire life…I would die happy.
Don’t be afraid of those weird combinations either. Dark chocolate & sea salt? Salted caramel? Puttin’ the age old sweet & salty to the test. Mmmmmm….
So there are two takeaways from this blog
#1 – Sea Salt, Rock Salt, Crystal Salt, Himalayan Salt = Good. Table Salt = Bad
#2 – When in doubt, add salt
P.S. Curious about where to find a decent salt & pepper grinder? Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams Sonoma, Amazon