Petitchef

Cooking on a salt block!


Not just any salt, beautiful, pinkish amber, millions of years old Himalayan salt blocks from Pakistan! We first caught wind of the concept of cooking food on salt slabs from this post on Richard Huff’s blog. Intrigued by his admirable review, our curiosity led us on a video search and we were pleased to find one on Oodlebox Tv. Chef Dani Luzzatti from Bellalu Catering and Glenn Weddell from Mani Imports team us to enlighten us on the many uses of salt blocks in the kitchen. The ancient pink beauties may be used as a cold plate or used hot to cook on, infusing their flavor gently into the food. What makes the flavor so special is that in addition to salt, the blocks contain over 80 trace minerals, adding a new complexity of seasoning to your food. Salt blocks can be directly set onto a gas range or barbecue grill, electric ranges require a spacer, more information can be found in this Himalayan salt block guide. Watch the video for a sample of creative ideas!





Searching for more ideas, there unfortunately seems to be no actual salt block cookbook available (yet!). Meanwhile we’ve scoured the net and have found a few recipes! Here we go:

First, here are some great ideas to start with from At The Meadow, which has great customer service and is a highly recommended supplier from which to buy your blocks. They also offer a dark chocolate fondue recipe here.

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Pollo al Mattone or “Chicken Under a Brick” is an interesting recipe from Colleen at Davero, as it puts the salt block on top of the chicken, in a mesquite fired grill.

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Here are several recipes courtesy of EcoIdeas:

Caramelized Peaches w/ Salted Mascarpone Ice Cream & Port Wine Drizzle

2 Each Peaches (Cut in ½ )

1 Cup Mascarpone Cream

2 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream

1 ½ Cups Port Wine (Ruby Port is the best)

3 Tbs Light Brown Sugar

Preheat your salt block by either placing it directly onto the flame (heat for 8-10 minutes on each side) or by placing the block into a pan for an electric range (allow to heat for12-15 minutes on each side). Place a few vegetables at a time onto the H.S. block and cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

You will also need to freeze your H.S. Bowl by placing it in the freezer overnight. In a sauté pan reduce the Port wine until it becomes a syrup consistency. You will want to reduce this by about 2/3.

Quarter the peaches and remove the pit. Toss the peaches with the brown sugar. When the H.S. stone is hot sear the peaches on both sides until they become caramelized. While the peaches are searing mix the ice cream and mascarpone cream together in the H.S. bowl.

Allow the block to cool down until it is safe to handle. Rinse the block under warm water and clean with a steel scrub pad to remove any cooked on residue. Place the block onto a cotton towel and allow to dry completely before storing.

Grilled Vegetables w/ Basil & Roasted Garlic Aioli

1 Each- Roasted Red Pepper (slice into ¼)

1 Each - Yellow Squash (slice on bias)

1 Each - Zucchini (slice on bias)

1 Each - Red Onion (slice ¼? thick)

1 Each - Portabella Mushrooms

1 ounce - Balsamic Vinegar

1 each - Lemon (zested)

1 cup Eggless Mayonnaise

2 ounce - Basil (chopped)

3 tbs - Roasted Garlic

Place all of the cleaned vegetables in a mixing bowl with the balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, 1 ounce of chopped basil. Season with salt only. The vegetables will pick up the salt from cooking on the block.

Preheat the H.S. block by either placing it directly onto the flame (heat for 8-10 minutes on each side) or by placing the block into a pan for an electric range (allow to heat for12-15 minutes on each side). Place a few vegetables at a time onto the H.S. block and cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking you can prepare the aioli. Place the mayonnaise, the remaining basil and roasted garlic into a mixing bowl . Mix until the aioli is well incorporated.

Allow the block to cool down until it is safe to handle. Rinse the block under warm water and clean with a steel scrub pad to remove any cooked on residue. Place the block onto a cotton towel and allow to dry completely before storing.

Seared Asparagus With An Olive And Herb Relish

Ingredients:

1/2 pound green asparagus (trimmed)

1/2 pound white asparagus (trimmed)

2 each lemons (zested)

1 each shallot (peeled and diced)

2 tbs kalamata olives (rinsed)

5 each garlic cloves

1 ounce basil

1 tbs flat-leaf parsley

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp himalayan salt

Place the peeled garlic cloves in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and allow to cool. Place the olives, lemon zest, shallots, garlic, basil, parsley and sea salt in your Himalayan mortar and pestle and grind ingredients until they are well combined. It doesn’t need to be a smooth paste. Place the olive mixture in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil.

Preheat your salt block in a 500 degree oven. You can also preheat the block on your gas range by placing it directly onto the flame for 6-7 minutes on each side(be sure to use an oven mitt or tongs to flip). If you have an electric range place the salt block into a pan and allow the block to heat up for 10-12 minutes on both sides before cooking.

Toss the asparagus in a bowl with 1 tbs of olive oil. You will need to cook the asparagus in a couple of batches. Place the asparagus directly onto the heated salt block and cook for 5-6 minutes, occasionally flipping the asparagus to prevent burning.

For serving, place some mixed greens onto the 12″ salt plate alternate the green and white asparagus in a circular pattern. Drizzle the olive relish on top of the asparagus.

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These are not true recipes, but photos with beautiful salt plating ideas, scroll halfway down the page to see 1) Chef Mark Zeitouni’s local snapper with avocado, micro cilantro, and lime juice; and 2) Chef Jesse Souza’s kobe beef with white soy and lemongrass.

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Salt Seared Tuna with Fennel, Courgettes and English Pea Pesto

Recipe courtesy of Sean Brock from the Food Network Challenge

Fennel and courgettes:

1 beer

2 cups self-rising flour

Salt

20 baby zucchini

4 fennel bulbs

12 baby squash

1 quart vegetable stock

2 tablespoons butter

4 squash blossoms

Whisk together the beer and flour, season with salt. Hold refrigerated.

Take 8 baby zucchini and blanch in salted water until tender. Puree in blender until smooth.

Place the fennel and remaining zucchini and squash in a small pan and cover with vegetable stock. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and braise over low heat until tender. Season with salt.

Pea Pesto:

1/2 cup fresh English peas

1 teaspoon almond oil

1 Meyer lemon, finely chopped

1/2 tablespoon Parmesan

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 extra-virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients for pea pesto except the olive oil into a blender and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil.

Tuna:

2 Himalayan salt blocks

1 1/2 pounds fresh big-eye tuna

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

2 teaspoons fennel pollen

Ground black pepper

Garnish:

Fennel fonds

Red ribbon sorrel

Nasturtium leaves

Place the salt block directly on the stove top and heat until hot about 5 minutes. Toss the tuna in olive oil and season with salt, fennel pollen and pepper. Place in a cryovac bag and cook, sous vide-style, at 130 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from the bag quickly sear the tuna on the salt block on all 4 sides.

Dip the blossoms in the beer batter and fry at 350 degrees F until golden brown. Smear the pesto across the plate and arrange the vegetables in the pesto. Slice the tuna thinly and place around the vegetables. Serve alongside fennel, courgettes, pesto and garnishes.

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Tuna Sashimi on Himalayan Salt , courtesy of chef David Burke

Ingredients:

5 oz. Sushi Grade Tuna Cut into 2? Cube

1 Himalayan Salt Block. Available at S.O.S. Chefs or Asian-Style Plate

2 Tsp. Ginger Oil (Recipe Follows)

¼ Bunch Chives Cut into 2? Sticks.

XO Sauce (Available at Any Asian Market)

1 Lemon

Method:

Ginger Oil

- 3? Piece of ginger chopped.

- Blanch 3Times.

- Place in blender w/ 3 oz. Canola Oil. Puree until smooth.

XO Sauce

- Zest lemon.

- Mix w/ 2 oz. XO Sauce.

Plating

- Slice Tuna Into 1 oz. Portions.

- Place On Salt Rock.

- Lightly Brush with Ginger Oil

- Place 1 2? Chive Stick on Each Slice.

- Place XO Sauce In Small Dipping Bowl.

- Serve with toast.

Makes one serving.

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So that should get you started! If you have recipes you would like to share please let us know or leave us a link in the comments section!

      








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