Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Salt Tricks

Salt is one of  the most important seasonings. Without it, our foods, both savory and sweet would be blah creations.Yet many home chefs don't really know how to use it or how to vary with different types. There's so many uses and different ways to salt food - and not necessarily with a sprinkle of NaCL.

Samin Nosrat, now a regular contributor to the Wednesday's New York Times Food section wrote about it today,Many home chefs are afraid of salt, fearing it for health, but sometimes fear adding too much can ruin a dish.Yet it is needed as the great chef James beard, once asked "Where would we be without salt?" To be honest , stuck with bland , unexciting food. Salt's relationship with food is multidimensional. It has its own particular taste  while balancing and enhancing the flavors of other foods.That's why it's even needed in baking because it enhances the cake's main flavor and sweetness.Does this mean throwing all cares to the wind and increase our salt intake? No, according to Ms. Nosrat, it means we have to learn how to use salt better. Add it in the right amount at the right time in the right form.Also just don't add a pinch at the beginning of cooking a dish and then forget about it. A dish must be tasted throughout its' cooking. The mantra is taste and adjust. Just use small pinches instead of handfuls as to not have too salty a dish.

Many home chefs use different types of salt but don't really know what they are. Common table salt is small and dense , making it very salty. Thanks to the added iodine, it has a slightly metallic taste. It also contains anticaking agents to prevents clumps from forming or dextrose a form of sugar to stabilize the iodine. A better choice is kosher salt and the best brands are Morton's and Diamond Crystal,  the same companies that make table salt. These are perfect for sprinkling over foods. The crystals are actually hollow and crumble easily. Sea salt is the trendiest and it's what's left behind when sea water evaporates.Sometimes classified as solar sea salt, there are the unrefined and more expensive ones such as Maldon, fleur de sel and sel gris, These come in flakes and should be used as more as decoration for lettuces or, caramels or even atop cupcakes. Don't toss a handful of this into the pasta water. Use everyday salt for that. As for salting, it's all about the wrist wag.Ms.. Nosrat suggest grabbing the salt in an upturned palm, then letting it shower down with a flowing wag of the wrist.

Cooking and baking need salt to be tasty and layered. Pick out the salt needed . USe it wisely and accordingly so that dishes will pop with flavor.

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