Acclaimed chef Thomas Keller shares how to use salt to intensify flavour by using wet and dry brining techniques, and also how to get that beautiful, crisp brown crust on a piece of fish or meat.
Writing for the LA Times, Thomas Keller advises us that when we use salt to enhance the flavour of food, it should be barely perceptible — the dish should taste better but not salty. He recommends using kosher salt and adding it early in the cooking process via wet or dry brining.
The wet brining technique submerges meat (e.g. a whole turkey) in a brining liquid that's made up of salt and other flavorings dissolved in water. This lets the salt evenly distribute throughout the meat without getting too salty.
For dry brining, you apply the flavouring agents (in a mixture of salt and sugar, usually) directly to the meat; besides enhancing the flavour, the dry brine creates that crisp crust on the fish or meat when cooking.
Keller also mentions a tempering technique that can be used in tandem with dry brining. Tempering means letting the temperature of the meat of fish rise when taking it out of the fridge. Equalising the temperature ensures even cooking.
Check out the full article below. There's also a great audio slideshow to learn how to prepare Meyer lemon-cured fillet of salmon (tips for "squeegy-ing the fillet included) and several recipes from Keller. This "Master Class" is part of a monthly series the LA Times is doing, and future chef tips will be coming from Naqncy Silverton, Tom Colicchio and Sang Yoon. Photo by John Verive
Thomas Keller: A chef for all seasons [LA Times]