from Jude’s Kitchen: the Salt Book

This new book is like an encyclopedia of salt, one of the basics in preparing food, demystifying some of its secrets.

Tapenade

My first thought when confronted with a book about salt was that this was not a great choice for anyone trying to reduce their salt intake overall—but it’s quite the opposite.

As the authors explain, the worst of our ‘invisible’ salt comes from processed foods, which we should be wary of, instead concentrating on preparing our foods from scratch.

That way, we can choose not only how much, but what kind of salt we add to them. This book is a virtual encyclopedia of information about the wide variety of salts available to use and how to make flavoured salts, including smoked salts easily, at home—as well as how to make your own salt from ocean water.

Published by Whitecap Books, The Salt Book: your guide to salting wisely and well, with recipes, was written by Fritz Gubler and David Glynn who concentrate on informing their readers about the best ways to enjoy salt, without just shaking table salt all over everything.

They explain that salt is an essential ingredient in cooking, livening up flavours and making some foods just plain palatable.

You’ll find information on how to salt, when to salt, which salt to use, why we need to use salt, salt trends, salt facts, salt recipes and more.

By the way,  there’s a national Slow Food Conference in Osoyoos Apr. 25 to 28, hosted by the Slow Food Thompson Okanagan Convivium. For details and to become a member, go to: www.slowfood.com/joinus/membership/canada

There are also tickets available for some of the dinners for non-members. Visit Facebook at: slow food Thompson Okanagan for details, or www.watermarkbeachresort.com or call 1-888-755-3480 for tickets.

Immediately following, but in Kelowna there’s another conference featuring food, so if you’re interested in writing about food and wine, or are already a food writer, you’ll be interested in the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop, Apr. 28 to May 1 at the Grand Okanagan Resort. Events range from a focus on writing to actually enjoying great food and wine with lots of experienced speakers and great field trips. For details, go to: www.okanaganfoodandwinewritersworkshop.com

For seasonal recipes for local foods, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, at local bookstores and wine shops.

Tapenade

Tapenade is a classic Mediterranean dish that generally starts with a base of olives, anchovies and capers, with garlic and herbs.

Keep it a bit chunky and spread it on toasted slices of a baguette, paired with a glass of a crisp rose such as that from Quails Gate or Haywire; or an austere red such as Sandhill’s Sangiovese or Mission Hill’s Five Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon.

I had some issues translating the terms of this recipe into easy kitchen parlance, like a tin of black olives instead of 200 g or 7 oz.; or a couple of spoonfuls of drained capers instead of 50 g or 1 3/4 oz. I mean, huh? I don’t normally weigh small amounts of dry ingredients, but perhaps in Australia they do.

200 g (7 oz.) black olives, stoned

10 anchovy fillets

50 g (1 3/4 oz.) capers

2 cloves of garlic

25 g (7/8 oz.) fresh basil

sprigs of fresh thyme

Rinse both the anchovies and the capers if they have been preserved in salt, and put all the ingredients in a food processor.

Blend briefly; the tapenade should have a grainy texture, being neither too chunky, nor blended to a puree.

Serves 4-8 as an appetizer.

 

Salted Caramel Macarons

The meringue should be firm but not too firm. Salt with dark chocolate or caramel is a match made in heaven, as you’ll see if you try these.

Macarons:

500 g (1 1/8 lb.) ground almonds

900 g (2 lb.) icing sugar

440 g (15 1/2 oz. ) egg white

120 g ( 4 1/4 oz.) sugar

fleur de sel

Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites at high speed until you see a line made by the whisk going round.

Add the sugar while the mixer is at medium speed and beat until the meringue is stiff. Fold the meringue into the dry ingredients: do not overfold it. Pipe the mixture onto a silicone mat or an oiled baking tray—they should be about an inch in diameter.

If the mixture is too thick, you will see a tip sticking up from the balls: give the tray a small tap to ensure a nice smooth surface. Leave the piped macarons out for 30 minutes so that a skin can form.

Bake them at 320 F in a convection oven about 14-16 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each with fleur de sel and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Caramel:

200 g (7 oz.) sugar

1 vanilla pod, split

200 g (7 oz.) cream

140 g (5 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled

3/4 tsp. (5 oz.) fleur de sel

Cook the sugar in a large, heavy pot, stirring all the time, until it is an even caramel. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add both to the caramel.

Warm the cream, then add a little at a time: be careful as it may splatter. Add the fleur de sel. Stir thoroughly, then cool the mixture to just over blood heat. Cut the chilled butter into cubes and stir in one at a time using an immersion blender. Blend until the caramel is smooth and glossy. Cover the surface of the caramel with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator until needed.

When the macarons and the caramel have cooled completely, sandwich two macarons together with a little caramel and leave to set.

This basic macaron recipe can be adapted to any flavour you like: some will benefit from the addition of salt and some will not.

 

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