This was certainly one of the most exciting meals I have made in a while. Exciting partly because everything tasted so good, but mostly because of the new toy my brother his wife gave me for Christmas. Behold, my Himalayan Pink Salt Plate:What is Himalayan salt? Himalayan salt comes from the Khewra Salt Mines in Pakistan. It is extracted by hand as the use of dynamite is prohibited in order to preserve the structure of the crystals. Today's common salt is chemically refined; all of the natural minerals are removed and reduced only to sodium and chloride. This process made the salt unhealthy. Himalayan Salt however, is pre-pollution and without environmental impact. It is identical in minerals to the ancient primal ocean with all the minerals and trace elements our body needs. These natural minerals are identical to the minerals which our bodies have evolved with (info taken from spring mountain naturals).
Himalayan Pink salt plates, bricks, slabs and chunks are an exciting way to utilize this special salt. The salt imparts a delicate salty flavor to the foods you cook or serve, but its density prevents your food from becoming overly salty. The pure taste and abundant minerals make this salt both more flavorful and healthier than processed salts. I heated mine in the oven which, I found out later, was the wrong thing to do (oops). I should have heated it directly on my gas burner over low heat for 15 minutes, then increased to medium for another 15 minutes. See atthemeadow.com for complete instructions or to order your own salt plate!
Once my salt plate was hot (like I said, I put it in the oven), I put it on a trivet and simply placed my tuna directly on top. No salt, no pepper, no oil, no nothin'. Check it out:
A couple of minutes on one side and you could see it searing (photo at right). A gentle flip, then a couple minutes more on the other side, and it was nicely seared. In all honesty I could/should have cooked it less, maybe a minute per side. I had prepared a couple of simple dipping sauces; a bagna cauda (galic, anchovy, olive oil) and a spicy tomato vinaigrette. After one bite of the tuna, though, both Lissa and agreed that it needed nothing else. High quality fresh Ahi tuna and a hot salt plate: dinner.
I didn't stop at the tuna, however. I had some ricotta cheese in the fridge left over form a calzone we made the night before, and I decided to make some pan fried ricotta gnocchi. Now, I've seen lots of recipes for ricotta gnocchi, but none of them matched the way I first encountered them in Cafe Mare. At Mare, we made a light, mostly ricotta, mixture that we piped out of a pastry bag and served them in a spinich mousse. I made something similar in that I used a pastry bag to pipe out the gnocchetti. I used about a 2 cups of ricotta, 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup of flour, morel salt, pepper, and copped parsley. I pan fried them in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, flipping them once browned on one side, then let them drain on a wire rack. I tossed them in some black truffle olive oil and more chopped parsley. Three words for you: de, lish, us. They are so light, and have such a wonderful texture, and the flavors of the morels and truffle were just lovely.
We had to round things out with a green salad of course, and round things out it did. It really turned out to be a beautiful meal. My new salt plate is so cool! They're not too expensive, and with proper care can last for years. I'm definitely looking forward to next my salt plate session. My curiosity has also peaked with regard to salt soles (proounced so-layz).