Many of us flavor our food with Himalayan salt, but have you tried cooking with it?
Himalayan salt blocks offer one of the safest ways to cook your food. They also can be used for curing, drying, freezing, caramelizing and they make beautiful serving trays. They are the ultimate sustainable cookware – 100% natural! You can see all those beneficial negative ions emitting from the block in the photo above.
There are a few tricks to keep in mind when cooking with a salt block. There’s not a lot that can go wrong when you serve with it or freeze it, but the block is a bit more fragile when it comes to heat.
The good news is salt doesn’t melt until it reaches a temperature of 1473.4 degrees F, so melting is not an issue. However the caution comes with the heating process. I recommend the book Salt Block Cooking by Mark Bitterman for complete instructions. He offers more than 70 creative recipes as well. Here are his summary tips for heating a salt block:
- Salt blocks can crack. Heat them slowly.
- Salt blocks can pop. Only use cookware-graded blocks.
- Salt blocks can get very hot. Handle them only very briefly, using extreme caution, wearing high-temperature oven mitts.
- Salt blocks hold enormous energy. Ensure there is adequate insulation between salt blocks and tables or counters.
Salt blocks work on the grill, over a gas stove, in the oven and on an electric stove. The electric stove requires some type of buffer between the stove and the block – I use the outer rim of a tart pan.
No matter which method you use, you’ll want to heat the block slowly. Bitterman recommends heating the block on the stove, at a rate of 15 minutes per low/medium/high setting. Do this before using in the oven. (Follow the same gentle process when heating on gas grills.)
This means it can take 45 minutes to heat your block before cooking. The wait is well worth it, however, as the taste is unbeatable!
My first try was with burgers. Once my family tasted the deep flavor and perfect saltiness, we were hooked!
I have also fried eggs and cooked sourdough flatbread on my salt block.
I even served shrimp recently on my separate “cool” salt block.
Himalayan salt blocks are readily available online. I found mine locally at World Market. A wonderful place to purchase them is at Bitterman’s site where you can purchase a nice combination that includes his book! Check out The Meadow found here.
What about fat? Will it run off the side? That depends. Overdoing the fat can result in spillage, but you’ll learn the right amount in no time. It’s important to keep in mind that fat offers a nice separation between the food and the salt, so the more fat, the less salt flavor.
I recently demonstrated how to use a salt block on the weekly program Good Day Google +. You’ll see my demonstration in the first 20 minutes of the program. Check out the video here.
Himalayan salt blocks make wonderful gifts. See my list 12 Unique Natural Gifts.
I love my salt block and can’t wait to explore new ways to use it. Have you tried a Himalayan salt block?