Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Well, this is my kitchen, welcome. Perhaps this post is a little late, hopefully some friends are returning for a second look. This is where all the magic happens. Three grown men work in this space over the course of a 6 hour service we tend to get rather close. Usually with the occasional cursing at each other, a few elbows, pan throwing, oh yeah, and we are surrounded by knives and extremely hot metal. Fortunately things have worked out rather well so far. We have the worlds second longest cutting board measuring in at about 10 feet.
The first thing that catches my eye in this phone is one of my favorite things, finishing salts, and we keep a full array on the line in plastic pint containers. I really enjoy the Australian pink flake salt. It taste like buttered popcorn to me, but at $50 per pound, well, I guess only I can eat it like popcorn. Down the line we have Fleur de Sel, from France, where it is skimmed off the ocean only at the most specific times. Next to that is Sel Gris, which is scrapped of the rocks under the water where the Fleur de Sel is harvested. I keep Pacific rock salt around as well. We use it mostly to salt water due to it’s huge crystals. I prefer Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt as my basic salt, for no other reason than I’ve become accustomed to the grain size, and it has a pure taste, nothing bitter or sharp. There is smoked salt, which I’ve found a but overpowering as a finishing salt. There are numerous other salts available. I purchase mine through Urban Herbs at the West Side Market.
Salt is a very powerful ingredient, not just an expensive finishing salt which serves equally as garnish for any culinarian. We currently, and have in the past used salt to cure our meat, for flavor now, and for survival in the past. I prefer to make my own special blend of cure which includes both salt and sugar, a lot of cinnamon, some cloves, coriander, fennel seed, juniper and peppercorn. It serves well as a cure for duck legs, pork, boar, even in a pate. I’ve become quite fond of it, and plan on using it exclusively in the future.
The crunch of the salt is rather addictive. Your basic Kosher salt prefers to melt into an ingredient, where a beautiful Australian flake salt likes to hold it’s on, and remind you it’s there when you bit into it. It’s a little explosion of instant flavor, and the best of them aren’t salty, rather convey whatever it is they are placed on.
Next time you reach for the salt, think twice about what kind you have, when you are adding it, and how it will effect the end product. If when out to a restaurant, and you happen to find a wonderfully crunchy crystal on your plate, be happy, be very happy.