Monday, March 22, 2010

Chew on this ... A little seasoning can add so much to a ‘dish’...

Chew on this ... A little seasoning can add so much to a ‘dish’...
Recently I did a salad in which I tossed some Fleur De Sel that my friend and fellow food writer Marryam Reshi sent me a while ago. Fleur de sel which is French for ‘Flower of salt’ is a salt that is hand-harvested by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans.
Traditional French fleur de sel is collected off the coast of Brittany and is added to a dish just prior to serving. So I kept it simple and tossed a bowl of greens in some olive oil from an Italian friends home press, with a little Fleur De Sel and coarsely ground pepper and served it immediately. Fleur de Sel is composed of irregularly shaped grains of salt that are slightly moist and form flake like clumps. Added just before eating they give dishes a salty crunch that holds it’s own alongside flakes of pepper. This combination is also great to season a good chicken breast, toss prawns in post cooking just prior to serving, or sprinkle over French Fries warm from the pan!
And then as I applied my latest discovery to one of the Amuse Boushe I was cooking up for the Natures Basket Delhi showcase, a rather interesting conversation lead to a stray thought....
A friend who is more salt than pepper was scolding another younger fellow, for assuming that all men with white hair are old. He stated that a lot of women like the salt and pepper look and cited George Clooney as an example.
I couldn’t agree more.
And that lead to the thought that in cooking, seasoning ‘Is a process by which the natural flavours of any type of food are enhanced. Commonly these seasonings are salt and black pepper can be all that is required to make a delicious dish.’
Every ‘dish’ gets more delicious with a little seasoning of Salt and Pepper!
There is just something about a man of a certain age, with salt and pepper hair, distinguished, dapper and self possessed, he stands apart from the crowd and inspires confidence. (And a few other feelings if the delicious winks of silver at my darling husband’s temples are anything to go by... I just love them!)
The Salt and Pepper Prawns that inspired such ‘profound’ thoughts!
500 g large fresh prawns - cleaned and deveined
2 tsp Fleur de Sel
2 tsp roasted peppercorns crushed coarsely
2 cups peanut oil; for deep frying
2 cups shallots sliced
Kaffir Lime leaves to serve
In a small bowl, combine the coarse salt, pepper and set aside. Heat a wok or deep skillet until it is hot and add the oil. When the oil is very hot and smoking, add the shrimp and deep-fry for about 1 minute or until they are pink. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and drain well. Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil (the residual peppercorns should have settles at the bottom) and reheat the wok. Add the shallots and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Return the shrimp to the wok and stir-fry over high heat for about 2 minutes until the shallots are crunchy cooked. Line a platter or small bowls/Chinese spoons with Kaffir lime leaves and transfer hot prawns to the serving platter over the leaves. Serve immediately.

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