With a Grain of Salt

With a Grain of Salt

“Where would we be without salt?”

James Beard (1903-1985)

Salt, the oldest culinary trick in the book, is one of the five tastes the human tongue can sense (the others are sweet, sour, bitter, and umami). Enhancing your ingredients without interfering with their unique smells or tastes, salt turns up the flavor on your food!

Everyone’s salt preference is different though, depending on how much you eat every day. So training your palate and tasting throughout the entire cooking process are both key.

  1. Start slow, go pinch by pinch and taste by taste. We want a taste of the sea, not a mouth full of ocean water and overpowering a dish with salt can be a challenge to remedy. (Note: Raw meat, yes to seasoning BEFORE you sear, but do not taste. This is where educating your palate will come in.)
  2. Raise your hand about a forearm length away from the food so you have a flurry of salt and not a gust.
  3. Ask: Are the carrots coming through? The Venison? The Parsnips? Question yourself how all the other flavors are coming through and how the salt affected them. Are they brighter, bolder, less bitter?
     Generally, salt and seasoning enriches flavour. A little can cut bitter foods whilst increasing sour, sweet, and umami (best for baking or desserts). For savoury stuff, a lot of salt will silence sweetness and turn the volume up on the coveted umami.

Too much salt? Grab some sugar or vinegar to balance it out. If the meat is cooked just scrape some off. In soup, add to taste a little yogurt, heavy cream, or milk.

And there are so many different kinds of salts to consider:

Smoked salts – adds great flavour to BBQ!

Sea salt – the one most people cook with.

Iodized salt – which has less flavor.

Himalyan Sea Salt (Pink and Red) – considered to be healthier.

Hawaiian Sea Salt (Pink and Red) – also known as Alaea Salt is great for pork, Hawaiian poke, and Jerk.

Black Salt – Himalyan salt combined with charcoal, and has an earthy flavor, also great for BBQ!

Experiment with all of these. Educate your palate by adding different herbs and spices whilst considering the five tastes. If I have salted your interest, check out my book, Essential BBQ Herbs and Spices, it has tons of different lessons, and goes more in depth. Your flavour will be unforgettable in no time!

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