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Bonus Blog: Layered Seasoning, More Flavour!!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I was sceptical about this article from last week's Globe and Mail which advises that we should use MORE salt when cooking.

MORE SALT? Heresy, really. We're supposed to be reducing sodium, Harrumph!! Blood pressure, doncha know??

But . . . the food professional chefs make tastes better. (Talking serious cuisine here, not fast food natch: not the unholy triumvirate of salt, fat, sugar: no no no).

So I went out to dinner with DH on Wednesday night: had pecan crusted chicken with a wonderful cranberry coulis and bitter greens . . . and a flourless chocolate cake with strawberry and triple sec cream Mmmmm. Worth every calorie.

And I was noticing the balance of flavours, the layering of flavours. And remembering the Globe article. And thinking about how much I loved last week's "soup o' the week", my minestrone. But also thinking about how I could punch up the flavour by cooking more like a chef.

So: today I made minestrone again.

But this time I used more pinches of flaky sea salt at every stage of the cooking process. (Sea salt has less sodium and more flavouring power, apparently).

And: I added some "bitter" with thinly sliced brussels sprouts.

Plus: I added some "acid" with balsamic vinegar.

Kept the umami: Parmesan and mushrooms for that meaty lip-smacking savouriness.

You know what? I'm thinking that this week's minestrone is even better than last week's. The flavour is layered, intense: not more calories, not more salt overall . . . just a different approach.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I've learned 'when' I add flavoring (including salt) is more important than the actual ingredient...
    Who knew? emoticon
    1660 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That soup sounds yummy. I am also finding that fresh herbs taste better than dried ones. Have fun experimenting. I did not know that about sea salt.
    1660 days ago
  • NANCY-
    It is wonderful that we keep learning.
    I want some of your soup!!!

    1660 days ago
  • _LINDA
    This is a very interesting tip! My Mom is starting to use more sea salt in her cooking. She was trying to avoid salt altogether (because of her husband's BP and because I have always been told to avoid it because of my RA), but some things really need that pinch of salt for a flavor boost. I am betting your soup tastes as awesome as ever!!
    1661 days ago
    Intesting that you should post this today. I made home-made almond butter for the first time today using raw (not toasted) almonds. I didn't add any other ingredients - it's 100% almonds. It's very mild tasting, and my husband's comment was that it could use a little salt . It's too late for this small batch (only 150 grams), but I see the point. Next time I'll use 200 grams of almonds and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and see how it tastes. I'll need to make sure I make the new batch before I'm completely out of the old so that I can compare the flavors - it will be interesting to figure out the proportion of salt needed to make the almond flavor "sing", but which also won't taste salty.
    1661 days ago
    Sounds delicious!
    1661 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    1661 days ago
    I want to taste your soup! Lol. It's fun to find recipes and techniques that taste good!
    1661 days ago
    Fabulous! Did you use the parmesan rind like you told me before? If not, at what stage do you put in the parmesan...and is it small shreds, large curls, or how?
    1661 days ago
    I don't know a thing about layering salt flavor. It's an interesting idea. Thanks for bringing it up.
    1661 days ago
    I totally agree that moderate, layered use of salt adds depth of flavor. It's all about balance!
    1661 days ago
    1661 days ago
  • AJB121299
    1661 days ago
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