Friday, February 26, 2010

What Chefs Won't Tell You!!!

This post has all the air of an exposé.

Conspiracy! What are they not telling you?

The truth is a little more mundane. If you put a gun to the head of a professional chef, and asked them the one difference between home cooks and professionals, it wouldn't be about techniques and ingredients, or about sourcing and freshness, or about burners and BTU's.

It would be about salt.

Yes, you heard the CC. Professional chefs understand better than anyone else the importance of salt, and how to deploy it "professionally".

It's a trick, and it has everything to do with how the receptors on your tongue work. To put it bluntly, they use more salt than you, and yet, if they do it right, they'll actually use less salt than you.

Scared yet? You should be!

Whenever the CC has made pasta for friends or readers on the blog, they have frequently commented on how much salt he dumps in the water. But, it's there for a reason. Only a small amount sticks on the surface of the pasta, and it's the surface that counts. In food, you don't get any points for "inner beauty".

The receptors on your tongue fire when they taste the salt. They "saturate" (to borrow an engineering term) and they don't reload right away.

Try this for an experiment. Make a completely salt-less sauce. Taste it. It probably sucks. Now, don't add salt to it but take a spoonful of sauce, sprinkle salt on the surface, and invert the spoon on your tongue.

Taste the magic, O Gentle Reader, taste the magic!

The sauce is entirely unsalted but your tongue doesn't know that. That, O Gentle Reader, makes all the difference in the world!

Armed with this knowledge, the CC leaves you to go out and conquer the world of food. Just remember, you heard it here first!.

1 comment:

hector said...

My favorite Italian grandmother saying: 'pasta likes to swim in the ocean'. Meaning: pasta likes a lot of water and the water should be as salty as the sea. (Sometimes I think that's really the level of saltiness our taste buds desire- remember we came from the ocean.)

You can never add salt to undersalted cooked pasta in a satisfactory way. It's gotta be 'cooked in'.