The key to cooking is learning how to salt your food.* Kosher salt is the ingredient I reach for with almost every recipe I make.**
*Paraphrased from a cooking class I took years ago with Michael Symon. This was the best cooking tip I got in a class, bar none.
**Exceptions: recipes with lots of soy sauce and when I'm baking (where the finer grained table salt works better).
Diamond Crystal Kosher salt has been my household salt for years. I prefer the feel of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt to Morton's Kosher salt - the grains of salt in the Diamond Crystal brand are flakier, and have a better feel to my fingers. For me, the feel of the salt is critical, because my measuring tool for salt is my fingers. A two finger pinch (pointer and middle finger, plus thumb) is a half a teaspoon of salt.* A single finger pinch (pointer and thumb) is a quarter teaspoon; a generous three finger pinch is a teaspoon. I've also poured a tablespoon of salt into my palm, to get a feel for its size there as well. Because of this, I don't need measuring spoons for most of my cooking - I can measure by feel, and I'm good to go.
*I grabbed my usual pinch of salt and measured it in a teaspoon to verify this years ago. Actually, I did it a few times, to make sure I had a reasonable sample size. Yes, I'm a cooking geek. I had to know!
|A two fingered pinch of salt
One thing to remember when using Kosher salt - it is much less dense than table salt, and that will throw off measurements if you're not careful. According to Cook's Illustrated, Diamond Crystal Kosher salt weighs half as much as table salt. One cup of table salt weighs as much as two cups of Diamond Crystal Kosher. In other words, if you are using a recipe written for table salt, and want to substitute kosher salt, you need to double the amount of salt you add to the recipe. In all of my recipes, I try to specify Kosher or table salt, and I almost always use Kosher salt.
*CI also says that Morton's Kosher Salt is heavier than Diamond Crystal, but still lighter than table salt; one cup of table salt equals one and a half cups of Morton's Kosher salt.
Want to learn a whole lot more about salt, particularly Diamond Crystal salt? Check out Alton Brown's interactive, online ad for Diamond Crystal at http://salt101.com/. It may be advertising, but it's a whole lot of fun, and really well done. I spent an enjoyable half an hour poking around and listening to Alton talk about the glory of Kosher salt.
And one final thing: It's not "Kosher" salt; technically, it's Koshering salt. All salt, almost by definition, is Kosher. Koshering salt is used in the process of making other food Kosher, following Jewish dietary traditions. We've just shortened the name to Kosher for everyday use.
*FCC Disclosure - As always with my Things I Love posts, Diamond Crystal didn't pay for this post in any way. I'm just a loyal customer who has been using their salt for years. I would love to have their ad for salt101.com on my site...but it doesn't seem to be running through Google's ad program. Darn.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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