Today, I’m going to cover the sections on Salt and Searing in Alton Brown’s book I’m Just Here for the Food.
According to Alton’s book, a healthy adult (with 2 functioning kidneys) can not even consider the amount of salt in their diet, provided that they drink an appropriate amount of water.
There are several types of salt, however standard salt is simply NaCl (Sodium Chloride). Salts will taste different based on the minerals which may be mixed in with them. For most uses, Alton recommends using Kosher (or coarse) Salt. This is because they are irregularly shaped with a lot surface-to-mass ratio, which allows them to stick to food and dissolve slowly. This is different than regular table salt, which is basically made of tiny cubes of NaCl.
It is also recommended that you salt each ingredient separately and do so during or before cooking.
“This method creates a flavorful brown crust on the surface of many foods, the mere mention of which has been proven to activate saliva production in human test subjects (a fact not lost on the food service industry). What searing does not do is ‘seal in flavors’ or ‘seal in juices.’ If you feel it necessary to seal in juices you should buy a laminator.”
For searing Alton recommends the following hardware:
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Spray Bottle (the cheap drug store kind, seems to hold up best)
- Spring-Loaded Tongs
- Instant-Read Thermometer (prefereably digital)
- Welding Gloves (in lieu of a pot holder)
- Splatter Guard (at least the size of your largest pan)
Pan-Seard Portobello Mushrooms
- 2 portobello mushroom caps
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Cast-iron pan (or heavy saute’ pan)
- Spray Bottle for oil
- Paper Towels
Cut the mushrooms into 1/4-inch slices without removing the gills. Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Mist the mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Using a paper towel, spead about 1 teaspoon oil in the pan. Lay the slices of mushroom in the pan without overlapping, and sear, without moving them, for 5 minutes, and serve.
Some things are as simple as they seem.