Nearly every dish in the kitchen is graced with at least a dash of salt. But instead of cooking with
salt, what if we cooked on
from Michigan’s MLive.com explains the process of salt-block cooking. After finding himself a 12-by-8 inch block of Himalayan salt at a farmers market in Flint, Michigan, writer Ron Krueger learns how to heat it over a charcoal grill fire, just like a griddle, and use the salt as a cooking platform.
Rising to a temperature of nearly five hundred degrees, the salt provided a white-hot surface to cook shrimp, veggies, and more; Krueger found that it gave any food it touched a delicate mineral flavor without becoming, well, salty. He points potential salt-cookers to Mark and Jennifer Bitterman, owners of Portland, Oregon, store The Meadow
(and writers of blog Salt News
), who specialize in the art. Selling salt rocks from pink Himalayan to black Kala Namak, they recommend using whole blocks at cool temperatures (to chill and cure meats like tuna), room temperature (to impart flavor to cheeses or fruits), and as a heat source in cooking (for the kind of seared meats and vegetables that Krueger attempted).
As the article and these tips suggest, the possibilities in a salt block are nearly endless. In the last few years, chefs have really started to appreciate the role of high-quality, artisan salt in their cooking. But there's another role for that sort of saline—as a cooking method, and not just a seasoning.