Friday, 03 June 2016 10:06 Written by John Reardon
Hello our Foodie Friends. This time of year gives us the time to stay outdoors and to cook. As Father’s Day is fast approaching, there are many “cool tools” out there to consider for Dad. Cooking with a Himalayan Pink salt block has fast become a fun and nutritious way to prepare food. The use of Himalayan Pink salt while cooking has emerged as a method of adding depth of flavor to foods while adding nutritional benefits. Himalayan pink salt is considered one of the purest salts used for culinary uses. It is basically “the crystallized soul of a 600-million-year-old ocean.” The history of the mineral compounds of salt stretch back over a millennia with evidence of its use as currency during prehistoric times. Over the years, salt has been used to preserve and cure foods before the use of refrigeration. Salt has been the cause of numerous wars, served as the symbol of political power, and has played an important role in determining the development of a cities and civilizations around the world. Himalayan pink salt is hand-minded having been derived from sea salt deposits that result from millions of years in the making. The salt boulders are handcrafted into blocks to be used for a range of uses including the emerging tool of modern cooking – the salt plate. Himalayan sea salt is filled with magnesium, iron, zinc, and manganese. Each mineral contributes to giving the salt its pink color. Consuming Himalayan Pink Salt on a regular basis provides essential minerals, trace elements to balance electrolytes, eliminates toxins, balances the body’s pH, and can help increase circulation. The possibilities of cooking with Himalayan salt are endless. The salt is offered as crushed crystals and chunks that can be shaved or grated, or as a slab. The sea salt blocks range in size and have thermal properties that allow for wonderful heat distribution and retention. You can freeze the block; put it on a stove top, in the oven, on a gas grill or any grill in excess of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The pink salt slab can be heated to high temperatures to sear thinly sliced meats, fish, vegetables, seafood, and other quick-cooking foods. It is also used much more as an ordinary salt to add while pickling brines, salt-roasting fish, beef, chicken, lamb or used for flavoring. Here is a “cool” sea salt block recipe to try out: Latin Inspired Lamb Chops with Cilantro Chimichurri Ingredients 4 lamb loin chops 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano ½ tsp. cumin ½ tsp. coriander 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 lb. red potatoes 1 tsp. smoked paprika ½ tsp. fresh pepper 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for potatoes 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra for potatoes For the Chimichurri ¼ C. cilantro, minced ½ C. mild extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar Instructions Cut potatoes into quarters (or into six pieces if larger) and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with smoked paprika, cayenne, and salt. Place potatoes in roasting pan and place them on the grill. Mince the cilantro and combine with olive oil and vinegar. Mix to combine and set aside for garnish. Serves 2 Salt Plate Place your salt plate on the grill next to the potatoes and preheat slowly and in phases, starting with 15 minutes on low flame, then 15 minutes on medium flame, then 15 minutes on high flame. Mix cumin, coriander, and oregano, and rub lamb chops with mixture. Brush chops with olive oil and place them on the hot salt plate. Cook 4-6 minutes per side until desired doneness is achieved. Stop by Saratoga’s true kitchen essentials store; Compliments to the Chef at 46 Marion Avenue (across from Fresh Market) in Saratoga Springs to get your Himalayan sea salt block and accessories for a summer of creative cooking fun. We also have grinders, shavers, and holders for the slab salt. Get something different to cook with and have fun! Remember: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Take care, John and Paula
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