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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Worth Its Salt

                                      Watermelon nibbles are a luscious summer appetizer

Beloved friends of mine gifted me with a culinary salt block and I became an instant fan.  Not only is this a magnificent serving vessel for a variety of foods, but the block of salt also cleverly flavors the food.  Seems like I’m not the only one enamored... there are a variety of books on not only what to serve on it, but even books on how to actually cook on the salt block.  While I’ve never attempted cooking on my salt block, I love to use it as a tray for hors d’oeuvres.  It’s a conversation piece and a fun way to start the party.

Now, a little about the salt tray.  It’s an actual block of salt from the Himalayan mountains.   Supposedly these pink-hued slabs of salt were formed between 550- 600 million years ago.  That in itself ought to jump start any get-together. 

There are several reasons I enjoy using the salt block.  The first is its intriguing story, and the second is its pink-marbled beauty.  I also enjoy the delicate flavor it imparts to the food on which it is served.  The only downside is that the block is very heavy.  Its weight of twelve pounds is daunting.  (I have the 12” x 8” block that comes with an attractive black cradle which makes it easy for carrying.  It does, however, come in smaller sizes.)

Some of my favorite things to serve on the block are foods that require a little salt.  In the summer-time, I use it for cubed watermelon topped with a few fresh herbs from the garden and a small amount of feta.  I also like the dramatic color and taste profile of using it to showcase cantaloupe melon balls speared with a piece of a black Mediterranean olive.  Both of these warm weather appetizers are exquisite with the salt block to play up the sweet-salty combination.  My final fave is large shrimp that have been quickly sauteed.

Bon appetit.

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