OLIVE OIL, SEA SALT, & PEPPER

During culinary school the importance of using salt was drilled into my head from the first day that i stepped into the kitchen. I can remember back in my sauces class when I had to make an orange gastrique, a sweet and sour sauce if you will, for duck, and I was so proud of my accomplishment that I ran over to the chef for him to try it. His response was less than impressed, he asked “did you season this sauce?” I told him “no”, he then proceeded to throw the pot away and told me to start over and to properly season it this time. At this point I realized that whether sweet or savory salt was a key ingredient.

The best way to test salts flavoring abilities is to make a base for creme brulee or ice cream, a nice and rich custard with vanilla, before you turn it into ice cream or creme brulee, taste the base, add a little salt and taste it again, add a little more until you start to notice the flavors of vanilla stand out and the richness of the cream get deeper. This lesson has been very valuable in my career in being able to train my staff properly and to taste food and season it properly.

Aside from salts ability to enhance I have realized, over the years, that salt can do more than enhance favors, sea salts from different regions can create an experience unlike any other. Aside from flavor, sea salts contain different minerals and nutrients that you cannot get from ordinary table salt. The simplicity that is salt can help us live a healthier life, and with OLIVE OIL, SEA SALT, & PEPPER we can .

What I love about this book, from the first few pages that I read, is that it teaches you what I teach the interns that come to my restaurant, in order to eat healthy you need to learn to cook healthy, keep it simple and use what you have, try not to over think it. At our Christmas buffet we had people left and right complementing our baked yams, everyone asked how we did it and my response to them was “Do you have a piece of paper and a pen? You will need olive oil, salt, and pepper”. Their response was always “That’s it?!” and I would reassure them that that was all they needed to cook a great meal. A good steak takes a grill, a good quality well raised cow, salt, pepper, and olive oil. In the summer we go out to our garden to pick fresh arugula that we toss with olive oil, salt and a little lemon. Simplicity is where we need to start, and this book demonstrates how easy it is to cook simple, great tasting food. I feel that this book will provide a great outline for everybody to live by to have a healthier life.

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