My wife and I were recently in a cooking store shopping for a gift and I found myself looking at all the funky salt-pigs...for me.
Some people like ankle boots, some people like glitz and glam; I like salt pigs. I was trying to explain my appreciation for them to my friend Pete after my wife gave in and bought me one as a gift. I don’t think Pete understands.
Pete: What’s that?
Me: A salt pig!
Pete: Um, what?!
Me: It’s a cool dish with a curvy top that looks like a periscope. It holds salt…usually coarse salt. The hood keeps stuff from falling in it, but it super easy to grab a pinch when you need it.
Pete: Oh. Like a bowl…with a lid. Don’t you use more salt if it’s right there in your animal vessel?
Me: Nope. I use less salt because I only use it at the end of cooking when it’s needed or I add a few sprinkles when we dish it up. A couple crunchy crystals on top make a bigger impact than having salt all through the dish. Plus, it feels way cooler to sprinkle coarse salt than to shake out fine salt.
Pete: Think I can just use my bowl of salt?
Me: I guess so. But you can’t call it a salt pig, and you won’t ever be on the food networks.
Whether you use a bowl, or a super inspiring salt pig, I find it’s a big payoff for flavour with less salt used overall. I’m often able to reduce salt in recipes knowing I can salt to taste: when it’s on the surface, you need a lot less. Since most of the sodium we eat comes in pre-prepared foods, cooking from scratch means it is a lot easier to keep the sodium in check. Consciously adding just a minimal amount of salt, only just where it’s needed, and flavouring with herbs and other seasonings let’s me lose the sodium and keep the flavour.
What do you do in your kitchen to have all the flavour you want, and only use just a little salt?