Salt BlocksPosted: August 1, 2012
Himalayan salt blocks and slabs are quickly becoming an exciting new trend in the culinary world.
Hand-cut from salt deposits deep in the Himalayan mountains, these thick pink salt slabs can be used for serving appetizers or cooking an entree right at the table.
Chill your salt block in the refrigerator or freezer for a few hours, and presto – you have a fun and interesting new way to serve fruit, sashimi, or any other cold food! It will no doubt have your family and friends talking for days.
Though salt blocks offer a beautiful way to present your food, their functionality extends beyond just a serving platter. Heat the block slowly on your grill, then sear some flank steak – it’s sure to be the perfectly salted star of your meal. For a new take on breakfast, heat the salt slab on your stove top, then fry an egg right on it! Feeling romantic? Check out this beautiful presentation of chocolate fondue on a salt slab – it’s sure to wow that special someone!
A salt block can be safely heated or chilled to virtually any temperature – a big benefit of its porous nature. It will also hold the desired temperature for an extended period of time, which means you can serve both hot and cold dishes on the slab.
People love the mild and light salty flavor it delivers to food. Foods with a high moisture content (like fruits, vegetables, and certain cheeses), will absorb more of the saltiness than foods with a drier content (like sushi, chocolate, and cured meats). The longer the food remains on the slab, the higher the potential is for salty flavoring. If you’re worried about over-salting, you can coat the salt block with a thin layer of butter or oil, which will also prevent food remnants from sticking.
Ready to dive in to salt? Here are the basics:
· Your salt slab should always be dry when cooking, in order to prevent the same sort of pitting that occurs in metal pots and pans.
· When heating your salt slab, allow at least 30 minutes to reach desire temperature.
· If you’re using a gas range, set the slab over the lowest flame, then increase to low-medium after 15 minutes. After another 15 minutes at low-medium, your slab will be ready to cook on. For extremely hot temperatures, increase flame to medium-high for an additional 15 minutes.
· For electric ranges, place a metal ring that measures at least ½” in height (a biscuit cutter or stack ring works well here) on the stove top with the slab resting above it. This will prevent direct heat from coming in contact with the slab, which can cause damage to the slab or your range. Once the salt slab is in place, follow the same instructions for heating as gas ranges above, allowing up to 5 minutes more for each step.
· Do not heat your salt slab in the oven. This may cause damage to your salt slab and your oven. Heat it on your range instead.
· When grilling, your salt slab should go directly onto a cold grill over low flame. Close the cover, check after 15 minutes, then carefully (with heavy duty heat-safe oven mitts) flip the slab over. Lower the lid again and allow the slab to preheat another 15 minutes. Now you should be ready to cook.
· Use your hand to judge the heat level of your slab by holding your hand palm side down over the slab (NEVER touch a hot salt slab). If you can keep your hand there for 2 or 3 seconds, the temperature is high (about 350-400°F), 4-5 seconds will be medium (300-350°F), etc. If you like things to be more precise, you could employ the use of a surface thermometer. We really like the BonJour Laser Probe Combo Thermometer. This combo thermometer can be used with a probe to measure the internal temperature of your food, or with an infrared laser to measure just the surface temperature (perfect for salt blocks!).
· As with any cooking surface, never subject slabs to quick temperature changes. Allow slab to fully cool (this may take hours!) before carefully removing from hot grill.
· To clean your salt slab, lightly rinse it with warm water and a soft brush to loosen any foodstuffs. Pat it dry with a clean cloth and set it on a drying rack, then be sure to store in a dry area. Do not allow slab to soak in water; this will cause your block to dissolve and pit, which will weaken the lifespan of the slab. Because salt is naturally antimicrobial, there is no need for soaps or detergents.
If properly cared for, your salt block can provide years of delicious and salty meals. With each use your slab will wear away a little bit – and when it becomes too small or thin to cook or serve on, you can grate the remaining salt directly onto your food.
Intrigued? Stop by our store and we’ll be happy to answer your questions!
Salt Block are available in our store. Call for details.