I am certainly a collector of kitchen ware, OK to be fair I have heard the word hoarder mentioned when it comes to my kitchen collectables, I dispute this rather strongly. Everything has a use, some items are just used rather less frequently then others. So we come to my Himalayan salt block.
I purchased this some time ago, maybe even 3-4 years, life does whizz past quickly. At the time I decided it was a must have as a serving platter and for that it was used, once maybe twice and then went to a comfortable place in the very back of a bottom cupboard, to disappear from sight and memory until I was on the kitchen floor doing a proper cupboard clean out.
It seems salt is the flavour of the month. There are numerous varieties for cooking, I currently have 5 different types in my larder. You can have treatment in salt rooms, purchase Himalayan salt lamps, I’ve just discovered the dinky little graters with a piece of Himalayan salt (no I haven’t succumbed to it’s charms as yet- keep an eye out for future blogs), there are a vast array of salt blocks shaped as bowls or simple square and rectangles.
These salt blocks are pink -sunset colors and really rather attractive, they hail from the Himalaya’s and have been created over thousands of years.
I have discovered cooking seafood and steak is absolutely remarkable using the salt block. It gives a salty tasting caramelized flavor, I kind of wish I had been using it all these years.
As there is salt naturally, it does work exceptionally well for seafood. There are a few tricks in cooking with the block.
Heat it very slowly, as it will crack if it meets with too much too soon.
- Heat at the lowest temperature for 15 minutes
- Move to medium for a further 15 minutes
- High for a final 15 minutes
- Hold your hand about 5 cm from the block, if you feel the heat, it is ready for cooking
Cooking succulent fresh scallops (from lakes Entrance) took a matter of minutes, no oil, a little black pepper, 1 minute on each side and we were done.
The natural juices of the scallops aided the cooking process absolutely added to the flavor. I was a little concerned at this stage as to how well the block would clean up. No problem. More about cleaning at the end of this blog.
Served with baby spinach leaves, a drizzle of lemon olive oil (or olive oil and a squeeze of lemon), chive flowers added an additional subtle flavor and burst of color.
Cooking steak is another treat a few minutes and you have it. After the heating process of course!
Don’t add oil to the block, I brushed a little on each side of the steak (Scotch is my favorite) and a little pepper.
I have read where people have suggested a Himalayan salt block doesn’t heat up quickly enough when turning over the item you are cooking. I haven’t had this problem but I wonder if it is the case that mine is a small block that sits over the heat element without too much hangover, perhaps if you have one of the larger blocks it may be more difficult to maintain the heat.
My block is suitable for cooking one generous piece of steak at a time.
Scotch fillet served with cos lettuce and broad bean and pea salad.
I absolutely would recommend Himalayan Salt Blocks, I haven’t yet attempted but if you cool it it is fabulous for sashimi as it starts the curing process,so I’ve been told.
It is a bit of a luxury, but if like me, you have an addiction to different methods of cooking then it is a fun and fabulous purchase.
The pros according to what I have read, not necessarily my opinion:
- Health benefits of balancing PHD and healthy minerals added to your food.
- Anti bacterial surface.
- More complex taste due to the salt and minerals naturally occurring.
- Holds the heat well and evenly distributed.
- It would be fabulous on a BBQ provided you have control of the heat.
- If you food is too salty you may not have heated the block sufficiently.
- Beware of wet foods, and never add oil to the block directly.
- Use frequently the more use the better condition the block.
- Store in plastic – now I didn’t know this and don’t necessarily do this.
- Always use metal not plastic tools.
- Do not immerse in water.
- Clean with a damp cloth.
- Clean as soon as it is cool enough.
Cracking and staining will naturally occur, be careful in the heating process to avoid major cracking, but as careful as I am, there is some with mine it hasn’t effected the block at all, so far.
I have a gas cooker and have not tried it on electric or induction, please check when purchasing if your stove is suitable.