Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Well-Stocked Pantry Chapter Four

I still am working on the comprehensive list of pantry items. It may well take me into next year. But here is a dissertation on salt. Now, you thought all you needed in your kitchen was a carton of iodized Morton's, right? WRONG, you neanderthal!

There are no less than five ESSENTIAL kinds of salt that you must stock in your well-stocked pantry, along with some optional ones. If you stock the optional ones, you may even rate a pat on the back from me, instead of one of my over-the-top-of the-of-the glasses-how-can-you-be-so-stupid looks.

Here is a picture of all of the salt currently in my kitchen. I am out of two kinds: Fleur du sel, and canning salt.

 They are:

Quick cure: meat curing salt, for the Canadian Bacon I AM going to make. Soon. Optional.
Sel du gris, for sprinkling on foccacia before baking, or adding to soup. It dissolves quickly.
Regular iodized salt: I've had that carton for a very long time. Never use it. Regular salt has a metallic taste from the iodine. I use kosher salt instead. Must stock, mostly for emergencies, when you run out of other kinds of salt or need to put out a grease fire if you're an idiot.
Kosher Salt, I keep it in a little bowl (in the foreground) and use a little spoon to sprinkle it on everything. Generously. Must stock. Not optional. It is the work-horse of salt.
Sea salt. Great flavor, can pretty much be used interchangeable with kosher for everyday salting. Must stock!
Smoked Maldon Sea Salt. A red salt, the best salt ever for bringing out the flavor of tomatoes and other raw vegetables. Use in salads, crudities, sandwiches. It's not optional for me, but I'll let you slide. I just won't respect you as much.
Popcorn salt. I actually make my own by pulverizing kosher salt in the food processor. Not optional, if you  like popcorn. Which I do. A lot. But not that vile microwave stuff. I pop my own on the stove, in the wok, which is the perfect shape, and dress with unsalted butter, popcorn salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. And then I eat it while sipping champagne.
Canning Salt. You read my post on making pickles, right? Right? Not optional.
Fleur de sel-  a fine grained finishing salt. Sprinkle it on pastas and grilled meats after they are cooked.Optional, but you're a heathen if you don't have it.
Hawaiian Red Sea Salt- another great finishing salt. Adds a touch of color and a unique flavor to cooked veggies and grilled foods. Optional.

Now, I am NOT going to debate whether or not you should use salt, or cut back on salt, or anything related to the amount of salt we should eat. Read this and decide for yourself if the science behind the anti-salt campaign is valid or not. I'm coming down on the side of not, but you decide for yourself. And don't bother trying to lure me into a debate about it. I'm right, you're wrong. End of story. Or my head might just explode and then where would you go for good food advice?

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