so I was hoping to start a thread here where we could share interesting techniques or recipes... I will start!
One technique and one recipe, both from A Kamozawa/A Talbot's book Ideas in Food:
This is an interesting technique they suggest which seems to have been actually pretty commonplace in the bad old days, I think it's definitely nicer than plain ol' desiccated pasta into boiling water... The technique is self explanatory, simply toast dried pasta to an amber brown colour on a sheet pan in the oven before boiling. A few other tricks I like for pasta: season water until it is briney (10% by weight saline solution), or an old French trick to cook the pasta in a simple court bouillon (quick stock for those not versed in classical French cookery terminology). Also avoid rinsing pasta if possible, you will rinse away the starch remaining on the surface of the pasta which will reduce the pastas magic ability to thicken sauces to which it is added.
A recipe I loved from this book is very simple:
1 Tahitian vanilla bean
2 cups fleur de sel or sea salt
Split bean and scrape the seeds into a mixing bowl, place the beanpod into the bowl along with your salt, mix thoroughly. Store in airtight container and allow 72 hours to infuse.
I love the vanilla salt for chocolate or caramel desserts but also surprisingly meat. I find good dry aged meat especially beef can develop vanilla notes so this can be a good way to get that depth of flavour on a less expensive or fresher cut of meat. I have experimented with subbing sachets of lavender and saffron for the pod to decent success.
One of our purveyors sells homemade merlot salt, pesto salt, habanero salt and a few others I cannot recall. Would love to know how to infuse wet or liquid ingredients into the salt without caking or having to use anticake agents which would modify flavour or mouthfeel unfavourably.
Got a recipe or technique you think is cool special or unique? Please share!!