These brightly-hued slabs of salt, mined from deep inside Himalayan mountains, are a surefire way to give your meal some punch. And using 'em can be as simple as laying down whatever food you want to add a salty note to, then serving.
But if you want to go the extra mile, you can use it a few different ways, from chilling to searing, to get extra special results.
How to Chill Your Salt Block
If you want to go the easiest possible route, use your block at room temperature. Even without any extra effort, you’ll get an excellent salt infusion to whatever you place on top. To cold cure with more subtle infusions, chill your block in the freezer overnight first.
Either way, top the block with sliced snacks like vegetables, fruit, cheese, carpaccio, or sushi-grade fish and give it a couple minutes while it cures right in front of your eyes. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try it with ice cream, chocolate, or caramel.
Pro tip: Once you've heated the block, it's tougher to try the cold curing methods. If you want to try both, go cold first, and then explore the hot recipes.
How to Heat Your Salt Block
Things to keep in mind:
Always, always, always heat your salt block up slowly. If you set it on a cranked-up burner or pre-heated grill right from the get-go, the block can explode.
Make sure your block is completely dry and at room temperature before heating.
When you heat your block, expect it to discolor and form small cracks and fissures. This is all part of the process.
Use your block on the stove or the grill. We do not recommend heating it in an oven.
The block can get to temperatures north of 500 degrees Fahrenheit – handle with care.
Gas Ranges or Grills
Heat at a low flame to get the process going. After 10 minutes, increase to medium and heat for another 10 minutes. Finally, turn the heat up to high. You’ll be ready to cook when the block gets to about 500 degrees. A quick check is if your hand can get no closer than about an inch to the block without hurting.
Don’t place the block directly on the coils – you need a buffer. Place a circular ring of metal, like a wok or pastry ring, to create a small air gap between the heating element and the block. Once set up, heat as described above.
How to Clean Your Salt Block
If you heated your block, allow it to cool completely first. Wipe the salt block clean with a moist sponge or towel. Don’t use soap – the antimicrobial properties of salt keep the block clean with no need for detergents. Next, scrub the block with a brush or scouring pad to remove any remnant food. Wipe it off with your moist sponge/towel and repeat until the block looks clean. Dry it with a paper towel.
This process removes only a very thin layer of the salt and preserves a relatively smooth surface. Throughout the process, keep the block as dry as possible, and use as little water as possible. Never submerge the block in water.
How to Store Your Salt Block
Store in any location where humidity and light is at a minimum. If you live in a humid climate, wrap the block in a towel before storing.