Category Archives: Flavourings

shitake mushroom salt

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I learned one thing from the Greeks, subtlety… Ok that’s not what you expected right?! I must clarify what I mean. Greeks aren’t known for being subtle, in fact just the opposite.  But, when it come to cooking, Greeks prefer to let the natural flavours of the food stand on their own. A pinch of salt here, and a squeeze of lemon there is generally all that is required…hence the word subtlety.

This particular ingredient is all about that concept. Salts are my last minute go to flavour boost. So when I recently run out of my Porcini salt I needed to replace my stash with something that I could get locally. I found some dried shiitakes at the market, so with knife in hand I thought I would experiment.

What you need:

  • Coarse kosher sea salt (1/4 cup)
  • 3 or 4 dried shitake mushrooms (2-3 tsp)

How it’s done:

  • Finely chop the mushrooms (or food processor)
  • Mix with the sea salt until you have your desired consistency
  • Store in an airtight container and use on steaks, burgers, anything really
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As long as there has been an omnivore (i.e. you) salt has been used in cooking, curing and preserving. From antiquity until the advent of modern refrigeration the use of salt has been the essential item in a cooks chemical arsenal. Currently in my kitchen, I am using salt in two ways to change the composition of olives from their natural state to an edible one. 1) A saltwater brine 2) Olives packed in coarse salt to draw out excessive acidity. My love of salt is deep. Like all men I love to collect things I enjoy and in my weird case I enjoy collecting salt…Over Christmas, I found wrapped up under the tree, two beautiful salts. One is the famous reddish brown Alaea originating in Hawaii the other inky black pyramid flakes originating on the shores of the Arabian sea. I am really excited to utilize and incorporate these unique salts into many dishes in the days ahead.

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Avgotaraho Messolonghiou: Botargo

  Certain questions come to mind when faced with botargo: firstly, what is it and secondly, what do you do with it? Up until two weeks ago I did not know the answer to either question.  A friend was visiting and she asked, “Have you ever had Avgotaraho? It’s kind of like caviar.” The absolute… continue reading

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