In this week’s podcast episode you’ll learn all about salt: its history dating back before Roman times, its culinary uses and the important role it plays in our diet. There are those who try to eliminate salt from their diet all together and others who love it and use it in fabulous dishes like this salt crusted fish with herbs from the Pierluigi restaurant in Rome.
Another wonderful recipe is Salt Cured Egg Yolks that you’ll find on the wonderful @baltimorehomecook Instagram profile, along with a how-to video. Use these eggs to grate on top of some of your favorite dishes for added flavor and texture.
A sprinkling on a dark chocolate cake like this enhances the flavor of the chocolate.
Salt is a great flavor enhancer and unlocker, when used correctly. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat is a culinary bible that should be in everyone’s collection as it explains how to master these four elements in cooking. It explains how to use it to its fullest.
Michael Moss’s Salt Sugar Fat is another wonderful book that explains the relationship between these three food elements, and it was a life changer for me.
And finally, Salt – A World History by Mark Kurlansky is a fabulous history book. Salt has played a major role in Italian culinary history from Roman times on up to the recent past when it was still a government controlled commodity. To this day tobacconist shops still display the wording sali e tabacchi – salt and tobacco.
Perhaps the oldest cookbook in existence, from Roman times, is The Roman Cookery Book, a translation of the original De Re Coquinaria by Apicius. You’ll see how salt was used back then, along with garum, a fish sauce used at the time for salting foods.
By and large Italians use two kinds: sale grosso (rock salt), used mainly for salting pasta water, and sale fino (table salt) for everything else. The sale grosso looks like this:
There are many wonderful salts available and each adds a different color, flavor or texture. These are some that you’ll definitely want to try out:
Himalayan Pink Crystal salt for a wonderful flavor and pink color
Maldon Sea Salt for great flavor
Maldon Smoked Sea Salt for a captivating smoky flavor
Fleur de Sel for a light and airy salt great to sprinkle on cookies and cakes, and steaks
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