Salt Block Cooking: Preparing Food for the Block - Himalayan Salt Block.org
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Salt Block Cooking: Preparing Food for the Block

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 Caramelized Onions on the salt block are

a fabulous addition to a lot of dishes!!

Food should be prepared specifically for salt block cooking so that it will cook effectively and quickly.

When it comes to Himalayan salt block cooking, we want to cook items fairly quickly so they pull up just enough salt and flavoring from the block. So, the majority of the concepts for preparing food to cook on the block are going to follow this line of thought. Some other things to consider could be whether or not you want to use the block for other items related to your meal. The obvious choice would be bread, buns or tortillas. When we cook fish on the block, it easily becomes fish tacos, sliders are fun and easy to fit several at one time. I heat the buns and tortillas up first and as I am not worried about and more on concerned about looks, I use a little butter on the tortillas and some mayonnaise on the buns and let them crisp up on the block. When there done the tortillas go in the tortilla warmer and the buns set ready for the sliders to show up.

Here are some key concepts for cooking with food that should be observed.

 Salt Block Cooking – Key Concepts

Rule: Don’t add salt to food being cooked on the block. As obvious as this sounds, many of us are use to adding salt during the cooking process and checking its flavor. Just remember that the salt is already taken care of and so add the other seasonings instead.

1. Food should cook quickly – the longer food is on the block the saltier it will become.

2. Food should be cut fairly thin in order to decrease its cooking time.

3. Food should be cut as uniformly as possible, so that all of it will finish cooking at the same time. this of course includes methods were more than one food type is on the block at the same time. If food isn’t cut all the same size, then consider when it will be added to the block. Less dense, smaller foods would be added closer to the end of the cooking time of something larger.

4. The water content of the food should be considered when cooking on the block. The higher the amount of water in the food the more salt the food will take up from the block. This would mean that you would more closely observe the early concepts to really reduce cooking time.

5. Use your favorite oil to lightly coat food to keep it from sticking on the block. Oil inhibits the foods’ ability to take up salt. Oil and salt don’t mix and so food with a light coat of oil will not take up as much salt, if any. Oil may serve useful however, when you don’t want to take up much salt or if you have to increase the time an item must cook or can’t keep the food from sticking to the block. Oil does provides connectivity to the heat and more uniformly cooks the food. Just like sauté food can be coated lightly with oil and will cook faster and not burn on the block, the same as it would in a saute’ pan on the stove top. The oil also keeps the food from drying out and sticking to the block. Oil can be brushed or dribbled onto the block just prior to adding food.  Note, that a block with left over oil will reduce the take up of salt for the next item to be cooked.

6. Let the food sear or cook on a single side longer. The idea here is if you continually move the food on the block it will take up more salt from it. So be conservative with your movements. The block is really hot and will cook food from the bottom up and when you need to, you can turn it to cook the other side. By only turning the food once you will brown/sear the food and get a nice crust which will enhance the flavor. (Searing: Browning the surface of food over high heat.)

7. Caramelizing or coloration on the food comes from cooking the sugars in the  food. There are of course a variety of different sugar molecules, these molecules react at different temperatures, however, with a salt block at 350˚f you will get them all. Fructose in the onions in the picture above will react at 230˚f. The reaction produces a brown color and nutty, somewhat caramel flavor. No wonder folks like salt and caramel!

Using the key concepts above will help you get started. Just try things out and decide for yourself. There are few absolutes to salt block cooking.

 

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