A Salt Block To Cook And Chill This Summer

No recipe is complete without a little salt, and Chill for good reason summer. Sodium from salt is essential to many of our bodies’ complex processes, including regulating the body’s internal balance of water and sodium. It is also instrumental in bringing out and showcasing flavor in food.Summer

It’ll be no surprise, then, when I tell you that a Himalayan salt block should be the next—and ultimately will be the best—addition to your summer cooking arsenal.

These pink slabs of joy are highly effective at cooking, chilling, and seasoning your food. They are also a rich source of some key trace minerals. And unlike the salt your sprinkle on your food, these highly dense salt blocks can be used over and over, in a variety of different situations.

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Cooking with the Salt Block

Before you start hosting your own block parties, here are a few quick tips to cooking on a naturally seasoning surface:

  • Before the first time you cook with it, season your salt block.
  • When cooking, heat the block in stages, starting on low heat and gradually moving to high. Too hot, too fast can crack the block.
  • The more moisture your meat has, the more salt it will absorb.
  • The higher the fat content, the less salt it will absorb.
  • Longer cook times lead to saltier foods. Thin cuts are best.

Grilling Steaks

Salt blocks work great on the grill.

Once you’ve slowly heated the block, test that the surface is hot enough by drizzling a few drops of water. If there is sizzle, you’re ready. Cook the steak as you would on the grill, 1-2 minutes per side for thinner cuts, and 4-5 minutes for slightly thicker cuts. This is perfect for a New York strip or ribeyes (use a meat thermometer to get the right level of doneness you want).

Remember—no need to salt the meat before you cook. The block has you covered.

Seared Scallops

Just like with the steaks, heat your block up on the grill to a high heat. Around 500°F is ideal.

Dry the scallops and then coat them lightly with olive oil (this will prevent them from getting too salty). Sear them as you would in a pan, flipping them with tongs once a brown crust has formed. Depending on the thickness of the scallops, this should be for just a few minutes per side.

The seared crust from cooking on a salt block will be unlike anything you get on a regular cooking surface.

Stove-Top Pork Chop

Salt blocks work just as well on the gas stovetop.

For an electric stovetop, place a metal ring (like a pastry ring) between the block and the stove, as a buffer. Heat the block slowly, like you would on the grill, bringing it up to around 400°F.

Once you’ve dried the excess moisture from your pork chops, coat it with olive oil, and cook it on the block. Again, thinner cuts are better to avoid over-saltiness. Like the scallops, that salt-seared crust is worth the extra effort.

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Serving Cold Food on the Salt Block

Before serving cold foods on your salt block, here are a few functional tips:

  • Store your block in the freezer for 24 hours before use
  • The longer food rests on the block, the more salt it will absorb. It can also lead to a frozen layer on the bottom of the food.
  • Watch the moisture. The more moisture the food has, the more (and quicker) it will absorb salt.

Sushi and Sashimi

Think of the salt block like a super fancy self-seasoning serving platter.

When preparing sushi and sashimi, especially in the warm summer months, it’s essential to keep that fresh, raw fish cold—and the salt block does just that. Remember, the moisture of the sashimi or the sushi rice will directly affect the amount of salt it absorbs. The slight hint of salt from the block will add an extra layer to the flavor!

Vegetables, Fruits, and Cheeses

Sometimes, it’s all about the presentation—and the salt block is certainly a showpiece. Using a chilled salt block (let it rest for at least 20 minutes after taking it out of the freezer), you can prepare appetizers of cheeses, fresh fruits, and vegetables, all on your fancy pink block. The block will keep your items cold and fresh, add slight amounts of seasoning, and be an excellent talking piece amongst your guests.

8 In-season Foods To Grill This Summer

Do you try to eat in-season? There are a lot of great reasons to opt for seasonal fruits and veggies. They’re tastier, more nutritious, and better for the environment. They’re also a good bit more affordable, and more likely to be sourced locally—because they don’t have to be imported from afar.

season

Here are some of the fruits and veggies that are in-season in much of the United States this summer:

Today, we’ve compiled a list of recipes that feature some of this bountiful in-season produce. They’re bright, summery, and delicious. We hope they inspire you to cook up some seasonal fare in your own kitchen!

1. Grilled Sockeye Salmon with Peppadew Butter, Asparagus, and Charred Tomatoes

Is there anything more summery than a delicious piece of grilled fish and in-season veggies? This grilled sockeye salmon with Peppadew butter, asparagus, and charred tomatoes is the perfect example.

You’ll find vibrant peppers and juicy tomatoes in season right about now, so showcase them in this light and delicious meal. The Peppadew pepper lends incredible flavor to a compound butter that you’ll want to douse everything with, while the tomatoes burst with flavor thanks to their charring on the grill.

This summery combo works well with just-a-little sweet salmon and earthy asparagus.

2. Grilled Greek Marinated Chicken Breast with Peach and Endive Salad

Channel Mediterranean vibes with this grilled Greek marinated chicken breast with peach and endive salad recipe, which uses in-season peaches, corn, and lettuce to build a crisp accompanying salad.

To make your Greek-inspired chicken breasts, keep it simple with a premade Greek vinaigrette. Marinate your chicken in the vinaigrette overnight to lock in amazing flavor.

While the chicken grills, take the opportunity to grill some in-season corn. The char contrasts beautifully with the natural sweetness of corn. You’ll use that corn in the accompanying salad, which also features in-season peaches and endive lettuce.

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3. Grilled Veggies with Aged Balsamic

There isn’t a simpler, more delicious way to use up in-season produce than with this grilled veggies with aged balsamic recipe.

You can opt for virtually any assortment from the produce you have on hand—the char of the grill with a kiss of aged balsamic, goes well with everything. This recipe opts for a blend of onion, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, corn, Japanese eggplants, and an assortment of peppers.

Add a little bit of salt, pepper, and oil, and you’ve got a complete seasonal side dish.

4. Ginger-Soy Ranch Steaks with Cucumber and Herbs

Cucumbers are an uber-refreshing, in-season veggie, so put them to good use in this ginger-soy ranch steaks with cucumber and herbs recipe.

Ranch steaks are marinated in a flavorful blend of garlic, fresh ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice and zest. This Asian-inspired marinade keeps the hearty steaks fresh and light, and perfect for accompanying a bright cucumber-radish salad.

To make that salad, you’ll combine in-season cucumbers and radishes with scallion greens, and fresh herbs including mint, cilantro, and basil. The dressing is simple because all the other flavors shine: Just drizzle on a bit of olive oil, salt, and lime juice.

5. Grilled Peach Shortcake

We did. This grilled peach shortcake deserves a place in your summer cooking adventures.

With this recipe, you’ll get sweet, caramelized grilled peaches; tall, buttery biscuits; and thick, decadent whipped cream. You might never return to the strawberry version again.

Peaches are a summer mainstay, along with their stone fruit cousins nectarines and plums. You could totally opt for those stone fruits in this recipe too, or even a blend of all three. Work with what you have on hand.

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6. Sirloin Cap with Peppers and Onions

Here’s an intensely flavorful, seasonal meal you can make on the grill: sirloin cap with peppers and onions.

If you’ve never tried making a roast like sirloin cap (also known as picanha or coulotte) on the grill, now is the time. A bold, blended marinade gives this roast its distinctive flavor, thanks to ingredients like garlic, onion, Fresno chile, beer, citrus juices, and more.

Joining the roast is a bevy of in-season peppers and onions, which you’ll prepare with a skillet directly on the grill. Make sure to use one that withstands high heat.

7. Just Peachy! BBQ Chicken Thighs

In-season peaches don’t just have to be for dessert (though we love that grilled peach shortcake). Try them in this Just Peachy! BBQ chicken thighs recipe, too.

A key element of this recipe is the BBQ sauce from scratch. You could opt for something in a bottle, but you might be surprised by how simple it is to whip up the stuff at home. You’ll need ingredients like onion, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, tamari, and more. That, and a small skillet.

From there, you’ll grill your peaches, and roll your chicken thighs in the sauce and grill, too. This recipe is delicious served atop a base of leafy greens, with some balsamic vinaigrette.

8. Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Grilled Tomatoes

Fresh summer tomatoes are at their peak in juiciness, so it only makes sense you’d want to grill them. These bacon-wrapped stuffed grilled tomatoes are a great start.

That name may be a mouthful, but the ingredients list is simple. You’ll just need tomatoes (flat-bottomed ones work best, so try beefsteak or heirloom), fresh mozzarella, bacon, basil, balsamic glaze, and a bit of salt and pepper. That’s it!