I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Salt Book

Imagine my surprise the other day when I opened up my mailbox and found a beautiful book!!!  What's more, this book had recipes!!!  Oh glorious days!!

The lovely people at Arbon Publishing had sent me a copy of their new book called The Salt Book your guide to salting wisely and well, with recipes.  

Salt....it is one of those things that you just don't tend to think too much about do you?

It is a much maligned compound.  On the one hand we have the health experts telling us we need to cut down the amount of salt we consume from our diets, and on the other had we have chefs telling us to season our food with salt.  The book makes recommendations on ways to eliminate unwanted salt from our diet, and how to add the flavourful salts that our body needs, and wants, in order for food to be palatable.

Salt is an ingredient that can be found in any kitchen, anywhere in the world.  But are we using it correctly?  Did you know that what is commonly called table salt, should never be used at the table?  It should only be used in the salting of cooking water, or in baking.  It is a highly refined salt, created by a mechanical process, and has a strong sharp taste.  What we should be using at our tables is sea salt, or lake salt, or some of the other more exotic salts that available.

The book advocates that we throw out our old salt shakers
 and replace them with small containers that enable us to add the salt to our meals by using our fingers.  

Have you ever noticed how chefs salt the food when they are cooking?  They add it pinch by pinch, using their fingers.  The book says we should get to know our salt, and be familiar with it. Taste, it, touch it, feel it.  Become familiar with the various types of salt that are available, and what their particular uses are.  We should learn to layer the salt, by adding small increments at a time, and tasting after each addition. This way we can avoid over salting our food.

I for one, was particularly salt ignorant before reading this book.  In my kitchen I had pink lake salt, and sea salt for finishing and serving, and table salt for cooking - but was completely unaware of all the other types of salt that are available such as:

Fleur de Sel - this salt is found predominantly along the Atlantic coast in France.  It is prized by chefs for it's high quality - it is light and flaky with a slightly pure mineral taste.

Grey salt or Sel Gris is another French salt which as it's name suggests is slightly grey in colour, sometimes with a purplish tinge.  

Red, Black and Blue Salt - The Red coming from the volcanic clay which is high in iron oxide found on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.  Blue Salt is harvested in Iran and is a natural rock salt that is also very mineral rich.  The Black salt (also known as kala namak)  is an unrefined volcanic table salt with a strong sulphuric flavour and is mined in Central India (it is not actually black as the name suggests - and is actually light pink in colour)  It is rich in minerals and is used to flavour vegetable and fruit dishes.

Another salt I was unfamiliar with was the Himalayan Salt Block.  Did you know that this salt block can be chilled to freezing point, or heated to up to 230 degrees C, making it a useful tool for serving hot or cold foods?

After reading so much interesting information about salt I was keen to head into the recipe section.  There are some wonderful recipes in this book that just make you want to start cooking right away.

There are recipes for making Spiced and Herbed Salts, Combination Salts and Exotic Salts (such as Vanilla Salt and Porcini Salt).  It takes you through the processes of Soffrito and Mirepoix, brining and stocks, preserving and curing.

There are several recipes for cooking seafood with salt, such as baking in a layer of salt, or cooking surrounded by rock salt (this is one I will be trying very soon!!)

There are sauces and gravies, and then on to the all important sweet dishes.  Here you will find chocolate mousse, salted caramels, truffles and macarons to name but a few dishes.

There are so many recipes that I cannot simply list them all.  I will however, be attempting to recreate some of these recipes in the weeks to come.

This is truly a lovely companion book to have alongside all your other cookbooks in the kitchen.  It is not only a handy reference book, but also a great recipe book.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy simply click on the link at the right hand side of the page.

Note:  While I received a copy of The Salt Book, I was not paid to make these comments.  The views and opinions I have expressed here are entirely my own.

1 comment:

  1. Salt is the most overlooked of ingredients and the most powerful of flavour enhancers, IMO.