Creative tips for cooking with (or without) salt
- With beef: bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme
- With pork: garlic, onion, sage, pepper, oregano
- With chicken: ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
- With fish: curry powder, dill, dry mustard, lemon juice, marjoram, paprika, pepper
- With carrots: cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
- With tomatoes: basil, bay leaf, dill, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, pepper
- With potatoes: dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, sage
- With greens: onion, pepper, lemon juice
- Increase the acidity in a dish to replace some or all of the salt. A small amount of lemon juice, vinegar, tomato juice or reduced wine will balance and enliven all the other flavours, without registering as sour or acidic on the tongue.
- Brown or caramelise foods to boost flavour without the addition of salt.
- Try oven-roasting vegetables with olive oil or fruit salsas to serve over meat or fish.
- Add a small amount of salt crystals as a finishing touch to provide higher salt perception when the crystals hit the tongue.
- Enlist the help of your ingredients
- Take advantage of seasonal offerings and make them abundant on the plate. Peak-season fruit and vegetables are the most flavourful.
- If you use frozen, canned or other prepared foods, investigate lower sodium, reduced sodium, or no-salt-added versions. Choose canned foods that are in water rather than brine.
- Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, to remove some sodium before serving.
Did you know? Smoking damages people’s sense of taste, so people who smoke may be less sensitive to salt than those who don’t smoke. If you or members of your kitchen staff are smokers, caution them against using a heavy hand with the salt shaker.1
Favourite methods from our chefs
- Try pan-frying it with a small amount of oil. That all-important Maillard reaction between sugars and proteins always works to build flavour.
- Other cooking techniques that add lots of flavour include braising, grilling and roasting. But don't add too much oil!
- Most people are familiar with the technique of marinating proteins to add flavour, but vegetables can also be marinated. This really helps layer on the flavour.
- Lock in flavour with sous vide, the technique of cooking ingredients in a vacuum-sealed pouch, usually for a long time at a low temperature.
- Use precious specialty ingredients like truffle oil to finish a dish. Before serving meat or potatoes, sprinkle on a small amount of lime zest, or drizzle on some nut oil for a robust addition that will hit the taste buds first.
- NHS (2016) 10 health benefits of stopping smoking. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/smoking/Pages/Betterlives.aspx Accessed 17/03/2017