Cut the salt

imagesReaching for salt to season a dish is a natural reflex. Other ingredients, though, can get the job done while pleasing the growing health-conscious segment. Food Fanatics chefs offer ways you can boost flavor and maximize salt’s mileage.

“Salt the surface before you serve rather than 20 times while cooking. The final touch of salt right before serving the meal will be just enough to put your taste buds to work and will transfer the other spice flavors across your palate.” —Matthew Dean

2. Think outside the saltbox
“I’m a huge fan of fresh herbs and spices. For instance, if I am making a fresh tomato sauce, I will use some sauteed onions, fresh basil and some crushed red pepper as opposed to a salt-laden sauce.” —Rocco Paradiso

“Don’t forget about garlic in its many forms. A good granulated garlic even without salt makes a great flavor booster that makes up for the lesser amounts of sodium.” —Matthew Dean

3. Make enhancements
“For red meats, use a nice chimichurri, the blend of fresh herbs, olive oil and a bit of chili. Flavored butters can also enhance a meat or poultry item, like a Maytag blue butter or a chipotle-lime butter.” —Steven Grostick

“Concentrate flavors via reduction, such as making demi-glace or wine reduction, which will yield an intense flavor without salt. Use foods such as dried mushrooms and certain hard grated cheeses, which are rich in natural flavor enhancers like umami. Pickled and fermented products add bursts of flavor without adding unnecessary salt.” —Perry Canestraro

4. Go high and dry
“Fried herbs also work wonders, especially crumbled over what you are trying to season. Even better: dried or fried prosciutto ham. It needs to be super dry, then pulverized in a spice grinder. Sprinkle on scallops or shrimp.” —Steven Grostick

5. Bring the heat
“Rehydrated dried chilies—ancho, morita, guajillo—with their smoky depth of flavor, balance aromatics like garlic and sweet onion, sweet acid like pineapple and mango, and even out salt- rich products.” —Rob Johnson

6. Layer up
“Infusing marinades and flavored vinegars into vegetables and proteins helps with adding layers of flavor. Finish with bright, fresh herbs at service time or a light shave of quality aged cheeses. The acid from citrus fruit, especially when the fruit is caramelized, adds abundant flavor to seafood and vegetable preparations.” —Paul Sturkey


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2 thoughts on “Cut the salt

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