Friday, September 7, 2012

Himalayan Salt Plate

Pictured here is a Sur La Table Himalayan Salt Plate.  There are tons of facts on the Internet about these ‘slabs’ and the information that follows is a compilation of that information and three recipe ideas for grilling with these slabs/blocks.
Your salt plate/slab can be used for cooking and serving.  When you prepare food on a salt plate they take on a light salty flavor and are alleged to deliver a variety of minerals absorbed into the food (as many as 72 trace minerals not present in regular salt).  Generally, a natural salt slab will add a hint of salty taste to moist or wet foods, but will have no effect on dry foods. You can cure things like Ahi Tuna on a chilled slab but we’re focusing on cooking here!
 
Searing meat or fish
These salt slabs can be heated to as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit and used to lightly sear all sorts of food.  The slab should be heated up slowly for searing or lightly grilling meat, fish or vegetables. When the slab reaches high temperatures it will turn colors in spots which is normal returning closer to it’s original color as it cools.  It is very important to start with a dry slab as lingering moisture inside the slab may expand and cause damage. Typically the dry time should be at least 24 hours since the slab's last contact with any moisture.
 
Once you've thoroughly heated your Himalayan salt slab, you're ready to sear your meat, fish and/or vegetables. Place the thoroughly heated salt plate on a heatproof surface. Lightly toss your meat, fish or vegetables in oil, spices and herbs. Drizzle the slab with EVOO (note that less oil will cause more salting and vice versa). Place directly onto the heated salt slab, then cook to desired doneness, stirring and moving around the salt plate as you would any other grilling surface. Your salt block will retain the heated temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Note: Avoid making direct contact with the salt block for some time after cooking the meal, as it will take several hours to cool completely

To clean your Himalayan salt block, wipe with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel and remove any remaining food bits. Avoid running your natural salt block under water.  There is no need to use soap or detergent on your Himalayan salt slab, as it is naturally anti-fungal and anti-microbial. You may wish to freshen your salt block with a bit of lemon juice from time to time.
 
Note that the appearance of your Himalayan salt slab will change over time. The more varieties of foods you cook and serve on your salt plate, the more likely the surface will acquire various, interesting new colors and shades. This merely adds to the irregular beauty of the Himalayan salt slab. Your salt block may also develop small fissures and cracks over time; this is typical with regular use. And when it finally is time to replace your Himalayan salt block, you can break up what remains and shave it down to crystals to sprinkle over your food or into your bath.

Recipe Suggestions for the Himalayan Salt Block (there are a couple cooks on my blog as well if you use the search feature)
Salmon on the Grill
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbls. Fresh ground Ginger, fresh
  • 1 Tsp. Garlic, minced
  • 2 Lbs. Skinless salmon filet
Directions:
1.     Combine oil, vinegar, sesame oil, soy, onions, ginger and garlic and pour over filets and allow marinate for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator.
2.     Preheat the salt block to 300 – 350 degrees and lightly coat with EVOO
3.     Place filets on hot salt block and sear to medium (2-4 minutes per side)
Scallops on the Grill - Place Himalayan Salt Slab on grill. Heat grill gradually to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together olive oil and fresh diced garlic
  1. Brush uncooked scallops with olive oil/garlic blend
  2. Place scallops directly on salt slab and sear
  3. Flip scallops as needed until cooked through
  4. One minute before pulling scallops off the grill, sprinkle generously with Sweet Onion Sugar. Sugar will melt slightly creating a delicious, sweet glaze.
When finished cooking on salt slab, turn off the grill and allow slab to cool. It may take several hours to return to room temperature.
Additional suggestion: Sauté 2 tablespoons margarine, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 shallot chopped, 1 garlic clove minced in pan on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Pour directly over cooked scallops and then top while still hot with Sweet Onion Sugar.
Shrimp on the Grill
Place Himalayan Salt Slab on grill. Heat grill gradually to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  1. Squeeze fresh lime juice directly onto uncooked and peeled shrimp
  2. Drizzle salt slab with olive oil
  3. Place shrimp on salt slab
  4. Cook shrimp on both sides until they are pink and firm
  5. After pulling shrimp off the grill, coat lightly with your favorite rub or sauce (can also be done before cooking.
 
When finished cooking with your Himalayan salt slab, turn off the grill and allow slab to cool. It may take several hours to return to room temperature.