In Chef Samrin Nosrat’s article SALT: the single most important ingredient, she tells a great teaching story:
One day, as a young cook in the prep kitchen, I was tasked with cooking polenta… The chef, Cal Peternell, talked me through the steps for making it, and I began cooking… After an hour and a half, I brought Cal a spoonful of the creamy porridge to taste, looking up at him with equal parts respect and terror. “It needs more salt,” he deadpanned. Dutifully, I returned to the pot and sprinkled in a few grains of salt, treating them with the preciousness I might afford, say, gold leaf. I thought it tasted pretty good, so I returned to him with a spoonful of my adjusted polenta.
This time he marched me back to the pot and added not one but three enormous palmfuls of salt. The perfectionist in me was horrified. I’d wanted so badly to do that polenta justice, and the degree to which I’d been off was exponential. Three palmfuls!
Cal grabbed spoons and together we tasted. The corn was somehow sweeter, the butter richer. All of the flavours were more pronounced. I had been certain he had ruined the pot and turned my polenta into a salt lick, but the term salty did not apply to what I tasted. All I felt was a satisfying zing with each mouthful.
Having experienced the transformative power of salt… I realized then why it had tasted so good. It was properly salted.”
After all the enjoyably hectic razzle and glamour of the festive season, let’s ease gently into the new year. We’re talking simplicity, effortlessness, minimalism. Easy nourishing recipes where all you have to do to make it taste delicious is just add salt. Try it.