Salting with a Flair
Salting has become a dramatic art under the skilled hand of Chef Nusret Gökçe, aka Salt-Bae. The suave owner of a chain of Turkish steakhouses is skilled enough in the kitchen to slice tossed apples, oranges and melons in mid-air.
But it’s his “in-the-air, down-the-forearm” salting technique that’s brought him instant Internet stardom. Salt-Bae considers the move his signature touch or, as he calls it “blessing the meat.” Or could it just be a publicity stunt for the opening of more restaurants around the word, including one in New York?
Take a look at this film clip of his stunning technique with salt and blade.
Meanwhile, over at Serious Eats, Chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt gives some practical advice about salt. He answers questions about table salt, Kosher salt, and what he calls the “fancy salts.” If you have a chance to read the whole post, it’s fascinating. If you don’t, here’s a few quick facts I gleaned, that you might find useful as a reference.
- Chemically speaking, table, Kosher, and the fancy varieties are the same.
- The difference in salts comes from their bulk/density, that is, how tightly they pack together. A cup of fine table salt has twice the salty power of Diamond Crystal Kosher. Recipes must be adjusted accordingly.
- Kosher is used by chefs to season, because its large grains make it easier to control when picking it up between the fingers.
- Table salt is good for soups, stews and pasta water. It dissolves fast.
- Fancy salts come from oceans and rivers. Chefs use it to finish dishes, because it gives a slight crunch that makes it perfect for scattering atop steaks, breads, and even cookies.
- Chef Kenji keeps Diamond Crystal Kosher in a salt cell near the stove and on the dining table. He uses the fancy varieties, such as fleur de sel and Maldor for finishing meat, because it’s crunchy crystals stay undissolved longer.
- Unless otherwise indicated, table salt is the better choice for baking.