We all know that when it comes to fish and chips, salt is one of the best things ever – especially when combined with a healthy splash of vinegar. However, many of us skip out on the salt in an attempt to make meals a bit healthier.
While too much salt isn’t great for you, a little bit doesn’t do any harm and can actually totally transform your meals for the better. One of the easiest ways to change a bland dish into a delicious one is by adding a sprinkle of salt, so why aren’t you using it more in the kitchen?
As part of our Tefalphabet, we’ve put together the salt tips you need to know so you can make the most of this humble ingredient and ensure every meal you whip up tastes as good as it looks – if not better. Here’s how you need to make sure you’re using salt:
Use the right kind of salt
It might be easy just to buy a big tub of standard table salt and use that for everything, but certain types of salt are ideal for specific things. Making sure you have the right salt for your dish can totally change the flavour and leave you wondering why you previously used a one-salt-suits-all approach.
Processed salts – These are your typical table salts that are perfect for putting in a shaker. They dissolve really quickly because they are so fine, so you can use them to add a quick burst of flavour.
Kosher salt – This dissolves really fast so can be used for almost anything, from cooking to flavouring popcorn. It is also less processed than other salts and has a coarse texture that you may want to grind if using at the table.
Sea salt – Flaky sea salt has a nice complex flavour that is perfect for pan frying or sprinkling onto freshly cooked food. It has a subtle briny flavour that works well with meat and will remind you slightly of the sea.
Pink Himalayan salt – This salt is the most natural type available and comes in crystal form that can be ground. You can also get slabs of it that you can heat on your hob to cook on in order to flavour food.
Rock salt – The chunkiest type of salt available, rock salt can be ground or used as it is. You can use it for adding flavour to fish or meat when salting it overnight. You can also cook fish, potatoes and meat in rock salt, which is an interesting process, especially as you’ll need a hammer to serve it up.
Smoked salt – This salt is the most aromatic option and has a lot of uses. You can get different levels of smoke, changing the flavour even more depending on what you want to use it for. It can be used as a dry rub for meat, to add a savoury touch to sweet food and to enrich fish dishes.
Use it sparingly
The aim of using salt in your cooking is to better taste the food, not to taste the salt. It helps enhance the flavour of ingredients and add depth to dishes, but using too much can make food unbearable.
Use as little as possible each time you add salt and give it time to infuse the food before tasting and judging if it needs any more. Just remember, that everyone has a different sense of taste, so adding small amounts of salt is better as it also means people can use more seasoning at the table if they want to.
Add as you go
Professional chefs all season their food at each stage of the cooking process so the salt can really enhance all the flavours. This results in rich tasting dishes that have a good balance.
While we may not all have the palette of a top chef, adding a pinch of salt during each part of the cooking process can help you to better season your dishes. Just be sure you’re also tasting at each stage before the salt goes in so you can ensure you’re not adding too much.
Not only will this create deliciously rich meals, it will also cover you if it turns out you added too much salt at an earlier stage as there is still time to do what you can to correct it.
Don't double the salt
If you’re doubling a recipe to feed more people, the only ingredient you shouldn’t increase is the salt. A pinch of salt will season a large dish just as well as a small one so keep the amount you add minimal.
If you follow the top two tips, it won’t matter if you’re cooking for one or 12, as you’ll still get perfectly seasoned dishes every time. Failing that, popping a salt shaker on the dining table will cover your back too.