Posted by: edibleplanet | September 30, 2009

Salting to taste

I always used to find, “salting to taste” tricky. Some dishes were not even cooked yet and the recipe would say add salt and pepper to taste. I would just randomly add some salt and pepper and hope for the best. Even in dishes that I could taste as they were cooking, I found it hard to know how much salt to add. What taste was I aiming for? The options I thought were to add some salt or too much salt. To avoid too much I added just a little, in most cases not enough to make any difference to the dish. Then I was reading a book by Linda Carucci who is a chef and cooking instructor. In her book she said to add salt until you can taste the first ingredient you added. For me, this really works. I might be looking for garlic or an onion flavour, if they went in the pan first. The process is almost like bringing a camera into focus. Suddenly all the flavours are there and the point of adding salt to the dish is worthwhile – bringing out all those great flavours.
I do like how not all cuisine styles follow the adding salt to bring out the flavours routine. Some Indian dishes are completely a balance of the ingredients – hence the large amounts of the ingredients that make up the dish. Some Thai dishes it is the balance of the salty (usually from fish sauce) the sweet (usually from palm sugar) and the sour that make the dish.

– Fiona

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