Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto generally has to satisfy his penchant for preparing and serving his zany, mouthwatering foods on Himalayan salt blocks with the more modest 8 inch by 8 inch by 1.5 inch slabs of Himalayan pink salt. These are fine, most of the time. But, with back muscles aching and biceps tingling, I am elated to announce that we have just finished unpacking a full container of the most unusual new and renewed sizes of Himalayan salt plates, salt platters, salt bricks, and salt cubes.
My favorite by far this time around has to be the imperial super mondo extra big and fancy and fun Himalayan salt platters (it’s tempting to call them Himalayan salt boards, or salt planks, or salt joists…), which measure a solid 8 inches by 16 inches in size, with a thickness of 2 full inches. They are begging to party. Some ideas that come to mind:
- Islands of mozzarella surrounded by flotillas of sliced green apple, pear, and peach on a fiery sea of pink rock salt.
- Schools of sushi grade salmon, ahi tuna, and saba mackerel netted by slivers of pickled ginger and a shaved dusting of wasabi.
- A dozen balls of home-made sorbet (got to use that ice-cream maker sometime) glistening on the pink salt stone surface beading salty perspiration like the athletic little treats that they are.
Anyway, there are lots of other nice new sizes in as well, including the size so many chefs have been clamoring for as a daily use salt plate: the 4 x 8 x 3/4 inch size, which can also be used as single serving salt plate, a salt coaster (so you can lick the salty condensation off the bottom of your margarita glass when nobody is looking), salt butter dish, or salt serving tray for the caramelized walnuts destined for that lovely Belgian endive, blue cheese, and pear salad you have been meaning to make for all these weeks. (dang, why did I not take a picture of that last night?…)
What else do we have? Bowls! Plates! Serve rice and stir-fried vegetables in the bowl, and grilled fish in the plate, and let the salt delicately play off the edges of whatever moisture is at play.
The Himalayan pink rock salt bowls are very cool, a massive 6 and a half pounds of 600 million year old pink rock salt. They measures just over 6 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches high. It is only hollowed about 7/8th of the way down, so it has a very heavy base that suggests it should be gently warmed up and used to serve chocolate fondu in it.
The Himalayan pink rock salt plates have a beautiful geometry to them, just concave enough to keep your scrambled eggs from skittering all over the place and onto the table, into your lap, and under your chair (some of us are vigorous scrambled egg eaters). They measure over 8 inches wide and almost 2 inches high, making them well-proportioned, slightly large side plate or a tidy, tapas-style dining plate. They weigh a solid 4 pounds 10 ounces, so they hold their own on a table with a certain James Bond debonair air.
Cooking on Himalayan Salt Blocks at WCI Le Cordon Bleu
I just did a cooking class at the Western Culinary Institute – Le Cordon Bleu demonstrating cooking with Himalayan Salt Blocks, and used the extra hefty premium grade 9 x 9 x 2 inch salt plates. I demonstrated the basics, like cooking thinly sliced flank steak, scallop, apples and home-made mozzarella (not mine) and the snazzy-simple melted chocolate fruit dip thing that gets people to actually lick the salt plate with their tongues. That’s it for the holiday season, I think, but we’ll be sure to have another class sometime early in the new year.