Plain and simple, salt makes everything better. Here are 5 techniques for making the most of this gift from the sea.
Writer Julia Rutland
1 of 5Photographer Iain Bagwell
Pickling is an old method for preserving food in a brine or vinegar solution. In our Zesty Shrimp Salad, we've adapted the brine to be more like a highly flavored marinade; true pickled shrimp would be too strong to eat without rinsing first. This marinade preserves the food for just three to five days, instead of months, but it makes a tasty appetizer that's not too salty. Placing the shrimp in the marinade while they're still hot allows the flavor to penetrate.
Brining is a technique that submerges food in a salt solution to prevent moisture loss during cooking, creating succulent, juicy bites. Use our basic brine for fish and shrimp, or for white meat, such as chicken, turkey, or pork chops.
The reason salt-crusted fish is so tender and moist: The crust seals in the juices and flavor while it cooks. Don't do this with steaks or fish fillets—it's the skin that protects the whole fish from tasting too salty.
Kosher salt's course texture makes it ideal for roasting—the large crystals lock together to form a strong crust and seal in moisture.
Preserved lemons are a classic Moroccan condiment often used to flavor stews and sauces. Boiling the lemons softens them more quickly than soaking them in a salty solution alone, cutting your soaking time to around three days. Keep in mind that lemons with thinner skins will take less time to soften.
Thinly slice or chop preserved lemons (both rind and flesh), and add to fish, lamb, or chicken recipes. They also give a big flavor boost to tuna, lobster, and pasta salads. Remember to taste the dish before seasoning with additional salt.
Use gourmet salts as a finish just before serving a dish. Atop fudge, flaky types shaped like pyramids or thin shards show up the best and won't overpower the sweet. Here, sprinkled sea salt surprises the palette and brings out rich, dark chocolate flavor.