Salt Block Cooking

July 5, 2012 (CHICAGO)


1. When you first get a salt block put it on the oven while it is turned off, then set the oven to 400 degrees and then allow the block to "season" for about 1-1 ½ hours. Allow it to cool. The block will then be ready for future use. Once it's seasoned you can use it in an oven, on the stove grill or over an open fire. Just make sure to heat it thoroughly before cooking on it. 2. Salt blocks are an extremely versatile cooking surface – a wide range of dishes can be cooked on them from pancakes to steaks, seafood, vegetables, pizza or cookies

Caramelized Carrots with Aged Sherry Vinegar & Goat Cheese

10 ea Carrots, large
3 tbsp Aged Sherry Vinegar
10 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Thyme, fresh, chopped
4 tbsp Parsley, rough chopped
1 ea Himalayan salt slab
4 oz Goat cheese
as needed salt & black pepper

1. Preheat the salt stone over medium to medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
2. In a small bowl combine garlic, thyme and sherry vinegar. Slowly whisk in 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
3. Peel the carrots and cut in half lengthwise, cut across the carrot dividing the smaller side from the large. Cut the large portion into similar sized pieces of the smaller carrot.
4. Place carrots in a bowl and toss with the remaining olive oil and black pepper.
5. Place the carrots on the hot salt block and allow them to caramelize. Once browned to almost burnt turn over and cook on the other side in the same manner.
6. Remove from the salt and cut into diagonal pieces approximately 1 ½" in length.
7. Place the carrots and parsley in a bowl and toss with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning.
8. Place carrots in a bowl or plate for service. Top with chunks of goat cheese.

Banana Split

Salted caramel chocolate ice cream, vanilla roasted pineapple, caramelized bananas, spiced pecans and brandied cherries
Serves 4
2 ea ripe bananas
8 tbsp sugar in the raw crystals
1 pint chocolate ice cream
¼ cup brandied cherries (griottine) with liquid
1 block Himalayan salt slab, frozen 24 hours in advance
4pcs vanilla roasted pineapple
4 oz whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the pineapple in the over to just warm through, approx. 10 minutes.
1. Peel the bananas, cut in half lengthwise, cut in half across the bananas keeping the large flat side. Place on a metal pan flat side up, sprinkle with sugar.
2. Using a blow torch caramelize the sugar to a deep golden brown.
3. Place the warmed pineapple on the plate, add bananas to either side.
4. Add cherries, drizzle with cherries liquid.
5. Place the chocolate ice cream on the frozen salt block and drizzle with the room temperature caramel.
6. Smash the ice cream using two large spoons or ice cream spades. Flip the ice cream over and continue to mix flipping and smashing the ice cream for about 1- 1 ½ minutes.
7. Place ice cream on top of the pineapple.
8. Top with whipped cream.

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
7.5 oz Butter, unsalted softened
9 oz Sugar
2 ea Eggs, whole large
9.5 oz AP Flour
1 tsp Baking powder
2.25 oz Cocoa Powder
1 ¼ tsp Salt
1 1/8 tsp Mint extract
1 1/8 tsp Vanilla Paste
¾ cup White chocolate chips

1. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer using a paddle over medium speed.
2. Add the eggs one at a time fully incorporating them.
3. Add the remaining ingredients; take care not to put the mint extract directly into the eggs/butter mixture. The extract may curdle the eggs. Add the dry ingredients first to the mixer.
4. Incorporate on low speed just to bring together.
5. Remove and chill covered for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350?F with the salt block in the oven.
6. Divide the dough into 25 equal portions, roll into balls. Keep chilled.
7. Open oven and place the dough balls directly on the salt leaving 2 inches around them to spread. Bake for 10-14 minutes.
8. Remove with a pizza peel or flat spatula. Lay on a wire rack to cool. Continue baking in batches or freeze the dough for later use.

Roasted broccoli

Citrus, Manchego cheese, chilies and mint
2 heads Broccoli, cut into flat ¾" thick pieces
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 oz Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded
½ oz Sherry vinegar
1 ea Orange, zest half, then peel and supreme
1 ½ tsp Red chili flakes or Korean chili threads
1 tbsp Mint chiffonade
1 ½ oz Extra virgin olive oil
as needed Black pepper
as needed Himalayan salt block

1. Preheat the salt block on the stove over medium high heat for 20-30 minutes. 2. Toss broccoli in olive oil and place on the hot salt flat side down. Cook until browned slightly, flip over and cook the other side until browned and tender. 3. Remove and cut into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl. 4. Add the orange zest, orange supremes, chili, mint, sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and black pepper. Toss together, adjust seasoning and place on a serving platter. Top with the Manchego cheese.

Scallop Sashimi

Citrus, shaved celery, watercress and radishes Serves 4 8 ea U10 dry pack scallops 1 ea Naval orange 1 ea Blood orange 2 pcs Celery stalks ¼ cup Celery leaves 1 ea Serrano peppers ½ bunch Watercress, 1 ½" lengths, not base stems 2 ea Red radishes 1 tbsp White balsamic vinegar 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil as needed salt and pepper 4 each Himalayan salt blocks (brick paver shape)

1. Char the Serrano pepper over an open flam until the skin is black. Set aside for 20 minute covered.
2. Scrap the skin, remove the stem end and most of the seeds. Small dice the pepper.
3. Zest the blood orange into thin strips, peel both oranges and cut out the orange sections over a bowl reserving the juices. Set the orange segments aside.
4. Slice the radishes into paper-thin rounds, set aside.
5. Combine the Serrano pepper, reserved orange juices, vinegar and slowly mix in most of the oil.
6. Shave the celery into paper-thin slices, soak in ice-cold water to crisp for 15 minutes.
7. Slice the scallops approx. 1/8" thick. Swipe a small amount of olive oil onto the top of the salt block.
8. Lay the scallops down in a shingled pattern on the salt. Season with fresh cracked pepper only.
9. Drain the celery, mix the celery, oranges, watercress and radishes, dress with the citrus vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper.
10. Place the salad along the scallops, drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Grilled Lamb Chops Hot pepper and mint salsa

8 ea Bone in lamb chops, ¾" thick
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 ea Poblano pepper
1 ea Jalapeño pepper, small dice
1 ea Banana pepper, cut in half and then julienne
1 ea Red bell pepper
4 ea Green onions, sliced into thin rings
1 tbsp Ginger, grated fine
½ cup Mint leaves, finely chopped
1 ea Lime, juiced
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Cumin, ground
as needed Black pepper

1. Heat the salt grill on the stove over medium high heat for 20-30 minutes.
2. Roast the poblano, and red bell pepper over an open flam until black. Remove and store in a covered bowl or plastic bag for 20 minutes.
3. Remove and peel the charred skin from the poblano and red bell peppers, remove seeds and small dice.
4. Combine the peppers with the onions, ginger, mint, lime juice and extra virgin olive oil.
5. Season lamb with pepper and cumin, rub with oil and place onto the hot salt grill getting a deep brown color, flip over and continue to cook until deep brown. Total cooking time 7-10 minutes.
6. Remove lamb and serve with the salsa.

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