How to cook on salt bricks
You need to heat the salt blocks up slowly to around 250°C/500°F before using them for the first time. Using my three oven Aga, I heated them on each shelf for 15 minutes, working my way up in temperature from the bottom shelf of the simmering oven to the top shelf of the roasting oven. This took about an hour in total. You can also heat the salt blocks up on a gas hob, again starting slowly and gradually increasing the heat to 250c/500F. You know if they are at the right temperature when you put your hand a couple of inches away and it feels uncomfortably hot.
I lugged back four Himalayan salt bricks from New York once. These bricks, especially selected by Mark Bitterman, so that they didn’t crack or explode in the heat, were fine. I also bought two much cheaper blocks from a horse suppliers ‘salt licks’ Bitless Bridle, however these weren’t the same quality and cracked a bit in the oven but were still fine to cook on.
In the tests that I have done, it seems that drier foods worked better on the salt blocks, the wetter the food, the saltier it became. You want a slight seasoning. If the food is rather wet, like scallops, you want to cook it quickly, so a high temperature is desirable.
To clean and reuse the salt blocks: wait until they have cooled down then give them a good scrub.
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 2 people
2 Salmon fillets, cut thinly into 4 pieces
6 Raw prawns, heads removed and peeled
1 Fennel bulb, sliced thinly
4 Spring onions
1 Red pepper, cut into thin slices
8 Baby corns
0.5 Lemon, to squeeze
1 tbsp Flat leaf parsley, to garnish
Heat up two Himalyan salt blocks, raising the temperature every 15 minutes or so until they reach around 250°/500°F this can be done in an Aga or alernatively you can heat them gradually on a gas hob.
Prepare the ingredients that you would like to cook on the salt blocks. In this instance; peel the raw prawns, thinly slice some fillets of raw salmon and wash, peel and slice the raw vegetables.
Once the salt blocks have reached the required temperature use thick oven gloves to move them to the place where you want to cook and rest them on strong, heat-proof stands. I find people like to participate in cooking their food so, at my supper club, I bring the salt blocks and prepared ingredients to the table and let people cook their own.
Place small quantities of your raw ingredients on each of the salt blocks. Cook for a few minutes on each side to your taste. The salt blocks naturally season the food so there is no need to add additional seasoning.
Remove the salmon, prawns and vegetables from the salt blocks onto plates and finish with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of flat leaf parsley.
The salt blocks will stay hot for about 30-40 minutes so, depending on how hungry you are, you can carry on cooking your prepared ingredients as required.
More recipes from Kerstin Rodgers
Watch the video on YouTube
Kerstin’s book – Supper Club (Harper Collins)