A Quick Start Guide to Cooking with Himalayan Salt Plates
Himalayan salt blocks, bricks, and platters can be used for sauteing, grilling, chilling, curing, baking, presenting & salting. There are as many uses for Himalayan salt blocks as there are foods or cooking styles. Serve moist food on it, such as mozzarella with sliced apples, and the food will pick up a delicate saltiness that sets it off perfectly. Heat a salt plate on the stove, then set the hot block on a trivet at the table to sear scallops or thinly sliced steak while seated with your guests.
Himalayan Pink Salt Blocks can be heated, cooled, or left at room temperature. Cold and room temperature uses need no special instruction; simply place food on the salt block and serve.
Heating Himalayan Salt Blocks requires some basic steps. Allow between 30 to 45 minutes to achieve the desired cooking temperature. Also, note that heating will change the appearance of your Himalayan Salt Block. Your salt plate will crackle slightly on heating as micro-fissures appear, clouding the clear finish of the salt block. This is normal, but you may wish to keep one for heating and reserve another for room temperature uses.
Be sure the salt block is completely dry. If wet, allow to dry at least 24 hours in a warm, dry space before heating.
For gas ranges, place your Himalayan Salt Block on the burner over low flame. After 15 minutes, (allow more time for plates larger than 8” x 8” x 1.5”), increase heat to low-medium. After 15 minutes, your salt plate will be hot enough to cook on. If extremely hot temperatures are desired, as for searing duck foie gras, increase flame to medium-high for another 15 minutes.
For electric ranges, place a metal spacer such as a wok ring or pastry tin with a removable bottom on the stove so that the Himalayan Salt Block is at least ½ “ above the heating element. It is important that the salt not touch the heating element, as direct contact could damage your range, your salt block, or both. With the salt lock in place, follow the instructions above, allowing as much as 5 minutes more for each step. We use a portable electric hotplate for special events and have great success with it.
If your Soul craves a little drama, try serving up an entire meal using large round or square Himalayan Salt Plates. Moist foods take on a touch of saltiness, dry foods do not, and everything glows with the otherworldly power of the ancient world.
Recipe and Cooking Ideas
Here are a few basic uses for Himalayan Salt Blocks:
Arrange thinly sliced carpaccio or sashimi on a cool platter and serve. Watch as the food literally salt-cures while at the table, gently cooking the edges and bringing on just a smidge of mineral-rich.
Heat your salt plate to a high heat, then fry an egg! This salts to perfection, or put butter on the surface for less. The magic is that the bottom of the egg gets salted, delivering saltiness directly to your tongue, accentuating the delicate flavor of the egg.
For an out-doorsey variation, place a Himalayan Salt Platter on the grill, and sear a fennel and lemon stuffed monk fish, or a lime and ginger marinated flank steak or a balsamic and garlic rubbed Portabella mushroom.
Freeze a Himalayan Salt for a few hours, then scoop cream or sorbet on top, and serve.
More fun yet, freeze a Himalayan Salt for 2 hours. Over medium heat, warm lightly whipped sweet heavy cream, egg, honey and aged bitters, and refrigerate.
Remove the salt slab from the freezer, pour mixture on it, slowly lofting with a spatula, for a salt tinged you won’t soon forget.
Thaw a frozen filet of salmon, roll in sugar and minced dill, arrange on a Himalayan Salt plate, cover with a heavy salt brick. Wrap in a paper bag and refrigerate for 3 days. Slice, serve with crème fraise, capers melba toast, or just eat plain.
Getting back to basics, use it as a serving platter for cheese, dried meats, or your daily dose of pickled ginger and wasabi. When used as a plate for moist food such as mozzarella and sliced apples, the food acquires an enhanced salt and mineral flavor.
Rid yourself of unsalted butter forever! Buy unsalted sweet cream butter and keep it in a Himalayan Salt dish or plate, which will stay chilled longer when removed from the refrigerator for use in warmer weather.
Caring for your Himalayan Salt Plate
After each use rinse your salt plate with warm water, scrub with a soft brush or plastic scouring pad to remove any stuck matter, then rinse again. Tamp dry with a paper towel or clean cotton cloth, the set in a drying rack. This process will remove a thin layer of the salt. Treated with care, a large salt block can provide dozens of uses. The powerful antimicrobial properties of the salt insure that it is always proper and ready for future use with no need for detergents.
The crystal lattice of the Himalayan Salt Blocks have a high specific energy (energy per unit of mass), so they hold any temperature you bring it to for a long while with even heat distribution.
Because Himalayan Salt Blocks porosity, and virtually no residual moisture (.026%), the salt plates can be safely heated to great extremes. They have been tested 0 degrees F to over 700 degrees F (-18 C to 370 C). Salt melts at 1473.4 F (800.8 C).
Two other considerations come into play when working with Himalayan Salt Plates. Their lack of porosity means that the surface area touching your food is minimal, so these large blocks impart only a moderate saltiness. Second, the high quality of trace minerals (1.2% sulfur, .4% calcium, .35% potassium, ,16% magnesium, and 80 other trace minerals impart a more mild and full taste to the salt, and by extension, more flavor complexity to your food.