I don't understand what the fuss is about with salt . How come nobody uses it? Because too much of it is bad for you? That's BULL. Well actually, too much of ANYTHING is bad for you.
Salt's been around for...well I have no idea how long it's been around but it's definitely been around for a LONG time. One thing everybody needs to understand about salt is that it doesn't make food taste salty (unless you oversalt) but makes food taste better. When you go to a "high end" restaurant what do you see on the table? Some silverware, plates, maybe candles, flowers, etc. But you'll never see a salt and pepper shaker. Why? Because the chefs in the kitchen have already properly seasoned your food. Don't believe me? Just check out their reviews.
Ok, so now you're asking "isn't all salt the same?" Answer: NO and a little bit of yes. Salt does taste like salt but nobody's eating salt by itself. There's a couple different kinds of salt. Table, kosher, baking, flavored, rock, sea, pretzel, popcorn, etc etc. The 3 most common salts you'll probably encounter in your life are Table salt, Kosher salt, and Sea salt.
Table salt is your typical salt in salt shakers, most of the time containing potassium iodide and dextrose (a sugar used to stabilize the iodide) as a dietary supplement to prevent goiter and mental retardation. (yes I just did copy and paste that, but I felt like you needed to know). All table salt contains an anti-caking agent to keep it from clumping when it gets too humid. I try to stay away from that stuff because well, it's just loaded with all this crap. All it's really good for is soaking up oil or spreading onto your steps when it's snowing out. The only thing table salt is really good for is baking because the grains are small enough to dissolve when baking. But again, let's not get me started on baking. Thank You.
Kosher salt (my favorite) is a wonderful thing and is the most common salt used in professional kitchens. Kosher salt is more coarse than table salt making it easier to pick up with finger tips and allowing it to stick to food better. Kosher salt gets its name from its use in making food kosher in accordance to the Jewish dietary laws. A lot of people (including my sister) argue that Kosher salt is "saltier" than regular table salt. NOT TRUE! Kosher salt dissolves on the tongue faster than table salt (because of all the crap that's in it) making one believe that the flavor of salt is much greater. Kosher salt should be your everyday salt, the only problem is it won't fit in a salt shaker. But you don't need a salt shaker at the dinner table if you season your food correctly anyways.
Sea salt is usually the most coarse of them all. The grains are huge and you can actually bite into one. The great thing about Sea salt is that it is ALL NATURAL. They way Sea salt is harvested is pretty much collecting the salt from evaporated salt water. What you see is what you get. Now from there though, depending on what the manufacturer wants to do with it, the salt can be processed several times. Maybe "processed" isn't the word I'm looking for. More like "purified".
Some salts such as "sel gris" (gray salt) are not as refined and are a little more moist. It contains traces of clay and other elements from the evaporation process thus making it gray! Sea salt is typically a "finishing" salt, meaning it is sprinkled onto a dish when complete to bring out the last and final flavors. For example, you have a 8oz piece of tenderloin (filet mignon) and you've already cooked it and let it rest. Now you will slice it and lay it nicely on the plate. It's so moist and medium rare. This is when you take your sea salt and sprinkle lightly on the meat that's been sliced. Because before you cooked it you only seasoned the outside. There's no way you can season the inside without cutting into it. The Sea salt with be the finishing touch on the beef, everything is seasoned bringing out the flavor of the beef (inside and out) and the plate is complete and ready to eat.
(OH! Just letting you know, I am not fond of those salt "grinder." All it is, is sea salt in a grinder. For what? You should've just bought Kosher salt to begin with. If you have one, you just wasted your money. Sea salt is meant to be that big.)
How do you know how much salt to use? There's always one quote that sticks in my mind when asked "how much do I put in?" "You can always add but you can't take away." When I was in culinary school I was taught to season every time a new ingredient was introduced to the pan. When you saute onions and garlic add a little bit. Then when you add the tomato add a little bit, etc etc. Of course you're not going to add a tablespoon of salt but literally probably about half a pinch. If you don't think it's enough salt you're adding then you're probably adding just enough. A little bit of salt does go a long way whether you know it or not. And you should always taste as you cook.
Have ever eaten french fries that were sooo awesome? And then you go back and they don't taste the same? Like they haven't been seasoned? Well that's why. The awesomeness that you taste is not salt but the flavor the salt brings out. If you really don't believe me about this whole blog I dare you to test it out. Stone fruit is the best test subject. Stone fruit is anything with a big giant pit such as a nectarine or a plum or a peach. Cut 2 pieces off about 1 inch cubes. Season one with a little bit of salt and leave the other plain. Eat the plain first, chew, swallow, and sip some water. Then repeat with the salted one. Tell me which one tastes better.
Want to look like a pro when seasoning? When you're seasoning anything (raw meat, cooked food, vegetables etc), try seasoning with height about 6-8 inches above the food (at work my hand will be 12 inches above the food but you don't want salt all over your counter and floor). This way you will see how much salt is coming off your fingers and it will also spread the salt evenly over the surface of the food. Also, when releasing salt from your fingers, rub your fingers. Don't keep the salt in your fingers and "throw" the salt at the food, that just looks dumb. You're not Emeril Lagasse!
I hope you've learned a little bit about salt from this blog and if you didn't that means you need to read it again.
I do swear in my blogs so if I forgot to edit some of them out...please do not be offended. Thanks and happy reading!