Salt has long been recognized as a seasoning component, and salt is currently the most commonly used ingredient in foods and sauces. Historically, salt was traditionally ground and then sprinkled on food to provide flavor, but today, most people prefer to sprinkle on the food, instead of grinding the salt. Much of the sodium content of many sauces is derived from the grinding of salt, which creates sodium-rich gas when heated, which is often used to add a hint of sweet flavor.
Traditionally, high quality salt was used to season foods, and the mineral content was naturally high, however modern techniques have produced a wide range of salt from a wide range of minerals. The most popular minerals used today include manganese, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Although Himalayan salt is used almost exclusively in cooking, some people opt to use it in salt licks.
Pink Himalayan salt, which has been mined in the Himalayas for more than a thousand years, is a high quality white crystalline mineral that occurs naturally in rocks and contains trace amounts of other minerals. These minerals enhance the color and clarity of Himalayan salt, making it a versatile type of crystal salt that can be used in a variety of cooking methods.
Salt is used primarily in the preparation of soups, stocks, and relishes. Most commonly, salt is used to preserve food by creating a crust on top or creating a taste that will attract birds to your garden. Traditionally, salt was often used to attract pigeons and geese, but these creatures do not prefer the taste of Himalayan salt and tend to fly away rather than eat it.
Salt licks are a traditional practice in many cultures, where the salt, mixed with some sauce, is placed on an open flame until it begins to melt. Once the salt starts to melt, the salt licks will form and then the cook will place a piece of fruit or some other high quality meat into the licks. The shape of the food may also have an impact on the licks.
Sometimes the shape of the food itself has an effect on the texture of the salt licks. For example, certain vegetables like onions and bell peppers have a tendency to break down when cooked and the skin often stays on the vegetable. A well-seasoned piece of meat, such as a roast, will sometimes form a ridge that sticks up from the meat. The less skin the meat has, the more chance there is for the salt to stick to the meat.
Roast meats with little to no skin should have a thicker layer of salt applied to them, while those with a thick layer of fat will need to be cooked further in order to get the salt to stick. Sprinkling salt on your steaks before cooking helps the meat hold its shape as it cooks. The same can be said for fish that has a high content of fat.
Fish often get a few tablespoons of salt before cooking, and then the rest of the salt is used to season again until the desired flavor is achieved. In the case of salmon, for example, the best use of salt is sprinkled all over the fish before cooking. Of course, you don't want to spend too much time pouring the salt over the fish to avoid having your fish rubbery. For smaller fish like red snapper, a teaspoon of salt can be enough for each fish, or enough to sprinkle on.
As a general rule, do not use expensive high-quality salt in less than 1/3 teaspoons per pound of food. If you see too much salt being used on a single meal, try adding a small amount of salt to the next day's food and using more sparingly throughout the week. This will help keep your food from having a salty taste.
Himalayan salt is used more for creating stunning presentation than incooking, so it is important to experiment with how much salt you want to use, as well as how you want to serve your food. Try sprinkling a bit of salt on a piece of fruit before serving, or dipping a piece of meat in a bowl of salt and water to get the full flavor. flavor without necessarily leaving the table.