A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes
by Mark Bitterman
Ten Speed Press
Publicist: Kristin Casemore
In SALTED: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes, Mark Bitterman traces the mineral’s history, from humankind’s first salty bite to its use in modern industry to the resurgent interest in artisan salts. Featuring more than 50 recipes, like Buttermilk Leg of Lamb with Sel Gris, Roasted Peaches with Smoked Sea Salt, and Salt Block Grill-Fried Bacon and Eggs, that showcase this versatile and marvelous ingredient, SALTED also includes a field guide to artisan salts profiling 80 varieties and exploring their dazzling characters, unique stories, production methods, and uses in cooking; plus a quick-reference guide covering over 150 salts. Whether he’s detailing the glistening staccato crunch of fleur de sel harvested from millennia-old Celtic saltmaking settlements in France or the brooding sizzle of forgotten rock salts transported by the Tauregs across the Sahara, Bitterman’s mission is to encourage us to explore the dazzling world of salt beyond the iodized curtain.
About the Author
Mark Bitterman is selmelier of The Meadow, an artisanal-product boutique specializing in salt, chocolate, wine, and flowers in Portland, Oregon. He will be opening a second store in New York City this fall. He is a leading expert on artisan-made salt and his clientele spans chefs from leading restaurants around the country, high-end food manufacturers, specialty retailers, and The Meadow’s many thousands of visitors. He has been recognized as a Local Food Hero by Cooking Light and featured in Food & Wine. Bitterman lecturers on salt at Le Cordon Bleu, the International Association for Food Professionals, and other venues. His presentations on salt have garnered articles in the Huffington Post, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Money, and other local and leading national food blogs and newspapers. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his business partner and wife, Jennifer Turner Bitterman.
Serves 10 to 12
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons crushed black cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 three-finger pinches The Meadow Sel Gris
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 boneless leg of lamb (about 4 pounds), butt end, butterflied
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 three-finger pinches The Meadow Sel Gris or other sel gris, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons cracked good-quality peppercorns, preferably Parameswaran’s
Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a large (gallon-size or larger) zipper-lock or other food-grade plastic bag. If the butterflied meat was trussed or wrapped in a butcher’s net, pull off the string, rinse it, and set it aside. Put the lamb in the bag and unfold the butterflied meat so that it all comes in contact with marinade; massage the marinade into the meat briefly. Close the zipper almost all the way, squeeze out as much of the air as you can without letting any marinade seep from the opening, and zip the bag the rest of the way. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, massaging the bag once or twice in the meantime to circulate the marinade, or you can let it chill for the rest of the day. Because marinades do not permeate meat fibers deeply, marinating for more time does little to add more flavor. Settle on a timing that fits your schedule.
Light the grill for medium-high indirect heat (about 425°F), building your fire or turning on the burners only on one side of the grill.
Remove the lamb from the marinade. Using kitchen string (or the string you set aside earlier), truss the meat together to resemble the leg before it was butterflied: compact and thick. Pat off any excess marinade from the surface, as moisture on the surface of the meat will inhibit its ability to brown on the grill. Coat the meat with the olive oil and season it with the salt and pepper.
Brush the grill grate thoroughly with a wire brush to clean it, and coat it lightly with oil.
Put the lamb on the grill right over the heat and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. If the fire should flare up, cover the grill to make the flames subside. Move the browned lamb away from direct heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers about 135°F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes.
Remove the lamb to a large serving platter; set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Cut off the string and slice the lamb about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the slices on a serving platter and sprinkle them with just enough sel gris to show off the dish. Serve with more salt mounded on a small dish for the table. Leaving the meat mostly unsalted gives your guests the pleasure of sprinkling it with moist chunks of sel gris with every juicy bite.
If winter weather has you cooking indoors, this lamb recipe also makes a great roast. Preheat the oven to 450°F before removing the lamb from the marinade. Truss the meat as for the grill, and place on an oven rack in a baking pan. Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and cook until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium-rare, about 45 minutes. Remove the roast from the oven and transfer it to a platter or cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. While the meat is resting, place the roasting pan over medium-high heat and pour in 1/2 cup of dry white wine or dry vermouth, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Slice the meat and arrange it on a serving platter, drizzle the pan sauce over the top, sprinkle with a little salt, and serve with more salt at the table.
4 large, barely ripe peaches
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3 pieces
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Greek yogurt, crème fraîche, or caramel ice cream, for serving (optional)
4 two-finger pinches Maine apple smoked salt
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Put the peaches, stem side down, in a baking dish large enough to hold the peaches without allowing them to touch one another. Poke each peach with a fork several times to keep them from bursting.
In a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and cinnamon to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon, vanilla, and butter. Return the pan to low heat and simmer until the butter melts. Remove and discard the cinnamon pieces. Spoon the sauce over the peaches.
Roast the peaches for 10 minutes, then remove the dish from the oven and brush the peaches with syrup from the bottom of the dish. Return the dish to the oven and roast until the peaches are just tender enough to pierce with a fork, about 25 minutes more. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serve one peach per person, with some syrup spooned over the top. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or crème fraîche or a scoop of caramel ice cream, if desired. Sprinkle a two-finger pinch of the salt over each serving.
These Recipes may be reproduces with the following credit:
Recipes from SALTED:A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes by Mark Bitterman (Ten Speed; Fall 2010; $35/hardback)