The Ingredient Salt: On My Plate and On Television
Posted August 9th, 2009 by Lindsey
Filed under: Bolivian Rose, chef, Chicago, Hawaiian Black Lava, Himalayan Pink, Red Alaea, restaurant, steak
Recently, I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago. This “modern” steakhouse celebrates all the classics with a contemporary interpretation. Unlike a typical, clubby steakhouse with its dark leather and paneled walls (which certainly has its own special place in my heart), David Burke’s Primehouse greets the guest with a cool, quiet atmosphere, illuminated by large windows and bright, modern artwork. As part of David Burke’s contemporary cuisine, he utilizes fresh, innovative ingredients. Lots of chefs do that; it’s the hip part of today’s food culture. But what did David Burke do that stuck out in my mind, that warranted a blog post? He used gourmet salt, of course.
His respect for our favorite ingredient was immediately apparent when the warm, light, airy popovers were presented to the table. A plate of delicious, softened butter studded with sparkly gems of Himalayan Salt invited the diner to go ahead, butter that popover. Not only was the popover mouthwatering and delectable, but the butter was perfectly salted with the Himalayan Salt. More importantly, this little addition, this tiny sprinkling of Himalayan Salt spoke to me. It said, this chef respects his ingredients. He doesn’t just respect the steak, but the popovers and the butter. If you’ve read the SaltScribe or the SaltGuide, you understand that many chefs and home cooks strive to use premium ingredients only to season them with chemical-laden, industrial manufactured salts. This little sprinkle of color and flavor on the butter signaled respect not only for the diner, but for the diner’s palate and the ingredients themselves. Once the appetizer arrived, I knew this restaurant was serious in its respect for salt. The silky Kobe beef sashimi lay draped over a block of Himalayan Pink Salt. The Himalayan Pink block infused the sashimi with the perfect amount of seasoning to highlight the amazing flavor. Later, I learned that not only does David Burke serve his sashimi on a Himalayan Salt block, but his steaks are aged in a Himalayan Pink Salt tiled room. How cool is that?
The next morning, I recalled each tasty, salty bite of my delicious meal while sipping coffee with the Today Show quietly playing the background. Then I heard the magical word that always puts me on high alert…Salt! Standing behind a gorgeous plate of gourmet salt on the Today Show was Chef Govind Armstrong! (Check out his demonstration here) He demonstrated a lovely salt-crusted sea bass (a perfect application for Beyond the Shaker Bolivian Rose, Red Alaea or Hawaiian Black Lava!) and chatted with Ann Curry about the importance of good salt. Ann has recently tasted and loved Truffle Salt…perhaps we should send her some of ours! As the show broke for a commercial broke, I felt extremely satisfied. We at Beyond the Shaker know in our hearts and our mouths the importance of salt. To see chefs and restaurants and mainstream morning television embrace this culinary cornerstone made me smile. And made me hungry…