Pink Himalayan salt blocks to cook on. Not only was the Accidental Locavore lucky enough to score one for Christmas, she got two of them. So it wasn’t surprising that signing up for the Meadows class on cooking with pink Himalayan salt blocks, was high on my list of things to do this winter. Something perverse about cooking with something that comes from the furthest point away, and is probably a couple of millions of years old. But hey, it’s February, and the only thing local and fresh in abundance is snow! My friend Robin Baron, a great interior designer and lifestyle guru came along to see what it was all about, and my aunt (the giver of the salt block) was there too.
You may remember that I have cooked on the Himalayan salt block, made a great batch of broccoli, and grilled a steak, but I wanted to see, and taste what else you could do with this hunk of salt. Mark Bitterman, the “Selmelier” started off with a couple of Granny Smith apples and some mozzarella, sliced and arranged on a room temperature block. The mozzarella was great, picking up a little of the salt flavor and everyone (but me) liked the apple a lot. He then went on to do some tuna sashimi, which was pretty interesting, the longer it sits on the Himalayan salt block, it starts to go through a chemical transformation (ask Mark). Since the piece I tasted was not one of the ones that had been “marinating” on the block, it was a good piece of tuna, but missing that je ne sais quoi, that the longer marinated pieces had. Certainly something to try at home. I also thought it would be fun to make some tuna or salmon tartare and serve it on the block. Now that I think of it, regular steak tartare would be pretty good that way too.
Then we finally moved on to cooking on the pink Himalayan salt blocks. First, a flank steak sliced thinly against the grain, and tossed on the (very hot) block. That was good, just a quick sear, and eat. Then Mark tossed some shrimp (still in the shell) on the block. They were awfully good, the salt just gives them a lovely delicate taste. To show off, he fried an egg on the salt block. The people who ate it, said it was wonderful, but everyone knows I can’t stand runny eggs. However, you can scramble eggs on the block, or make omelettes (not sure how you would flip them, those salt blocks are heavy!), which would probably be delicious.
For the grand finale, Mark made chocolate fondue in a pink Himalayan salt bowl that had been heated up to about 200 degrees. Into it he added some heavy cream, and semisweet chocolate. The chocolate melts gently, not needing a double boiler. And the whole presentation is soooo much better than those awful chocolate fountains people have at events. I do wish he had spent more time actually cooking on the blocks, it’s a new technique to me, and I’m sure there are a lot of cool things you can do with it. When and if it ever stops snowing and we can find our grill, I’m going to toss the salt block on the grill and try some fish or maybe some really thinly sliced lamb. In the meantime, eggs, scallops, and shrimp here we come! What would you do with it?