Salt is a ubiquitous kitchen staple. You’ve got it on your table and in your cupboard. You know that it tastes great sprinkled on fries. But why stop there? There’s so much more that salt can do for you.
We asked several successful chefs to share their tips for using salt to up your home cooking game, so grab your shaker and give these moves a shot.
When preparing meats at home, you can add extra flavor and prevent cuts from drying out by creating a brine, says chef Patrick Russ of Chicago’s Seven Lions. “Home cooks can flavor the inside of their meat by making a brine of salt, sugar, lemons and spices to up their roast chicken or pork game,” he recommends. “It's super easy to do at home, especially with the summer grilling season coming up.” Flaky Morton Kosher Salt really brings out the tenderness and flavor of meat and poultry, so it’s an ideal choice for brining.
Level up that salad
A sprinkling of Morton Fine Sea Salt can take your salad from a passable side dish to a starring role. Chef Zach Walrath of The Florentine in Chicago suggests that you always add salt to your greens. “Lettuce does not come seasoned at the store, so a simple vinaigrette is not going to have enough salt to season the lettuce on its own,” he says. “When mixing salads, salt is your friend.”
Seven Lions’ Russ agrees. “It is one reason why salads at restaurants taste so much better than when you make it at home.”
Make it chill
Cool off your wine in a hurry with a little salty help. Master sommelier and restaurateur Alpana Singh says salt is the secret ingredient for speed chilling your bottle: “A cup of salt in a bucket of ice dramatically increases the chill rate. Don't know the science of why — it just works.” Just grab Morton Table Salt for this quick fix, and you’ll be sipping in no time.
The finishing touch
It’s well known among chefs that salt, particularly a textured salt like Morton Kosher Salt, is the key to finishing off a dish just right. “Every home cook should have a nice finishing sea salt,” insists executive chef Matt Ford of Americano in Dallas. “It will help everything taste seasoned, but not salty, because it dissolves into the dish quickly and evenly and brings out the natural flavors of the ingredients.”
Salty and sweet
A little bit of salt can make your desserts all the sweeter. “It's all about balance,” The Florentine’s Walrath says. “Just a pinch will go a long way. It helps brighten up those sweet flavors such as vanilla, ginger, and cinnamon.”
Not convinced? The culinary director of Texas de Brazil, Evandro Caregnato, improved one of the chain’s classic desserts, the caramel flan, with just a dash of salt: “The recipe remained intact for many years until we decided to add a pinch of salt while preparing the caramel sauce. The difference was remarkable; the caramel achieved a much more complex flavor and worked even better with the sweetness of the egg custard.” Dish up your desserts with Morton Sea Salt for that craveworthy one-two punch of sweet and salty.
Cleaning Your Cast Iron
A cast iron pan is an incredible tool to have in your kitchen arsenal, but the practice of seasoning it can make cleaning a difficult task. “I love my cast iron, but I wouldn't be able to use it if it wasn't for salt,” says executive chef David Fingerman of Atwood in Chicago. “If you forget to thoroughly dry your pan and see a little rust, all is not lost. Just mix a little bit of cooking oil and kosher salt together and rub the area with the mixture until it is gone. This is also one of the best ways to clean your cast iron in general. The salt is just abrasive enough to remove anything but won’t damage your heirloom.”
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