Quick Guide To Good Seasoning
Ask any chef how important seasoning is to the finished taste of a dish, and he or she will tell you that good seasoning completes the flavours. Most chefs like to season as they cook, which develops the flavour of the ingredients and cuts down on the need for diners to season at the table. A chef’s role is to present a perfectly finished dish, which shouldn’t need any further adornment of seasoning.
Salt and pepper are the basics any chef or cook uses for seasoning most savoury dishes. This combo gives depth of flavour without changing the personality of the dish. After that, you can choose a variety of flavoured rubs and seasonings, which will add their own magic to fresh ingredients.
Follow our quick guide to good seasoning here, for all your Christmas cooking this festive season!
Sprinkle the salt, grind the pepper
There are a few little tips for the correct use of salt and pepper in your dishes.
- Chefs add salt to dishes as they cook, for very good reason. The heat of the dish helps the salt grains or flakes dissolve properly, creating a carefully balanced and rounded result in the final dish.
- At home, if you add salt carefully as you cook, tasting as you go, you will know when you hit the right balance.
- Adding salt at the table to already salted foods, can swing the balance of flavours out, as well as leading to excess salt use over time, as the palate gets used to wanting a more intense salty flavour.
- The quality of the salt you use makes a massive difference to the taste of the dish and the amount you need.
- Professional cooks and food writers are not being snobby when they tell you to use freshly ground black pepper. When you freshly grind your pepper for each recipe, you get a truly aromatic heat to the finished flavour.
- Invest in a decent pepper mill - or write it down as a gift on your wanted pressies list!
- Buying whole dried black peppercorns in bags is cheaper than buying the small containers of them in supermarkets. When you have opened your bag of peppercorns to fill your pepper mill, secure the bag and store it in a plastic snap top box, so the remaining peppercorns won’t lose flavour.
- Mix whole dried black, white and green dried peppercorns in your mill for a colourful blend with subtle peppery differences in flavour.
- Season your festive meats with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, prior to cooking. This will help infuse the seasoning into the meat as it cooks.
Sourcing Great Sea Salt
Three Good Food Ireland members concentrate on making pure natural sea salt from waters harvested around the west and east coasts of Ireland. Both have a story to tell!
Rebirth of an ancient tradition
There has been a longstanding tradition of sea salt production on Achill Island in Co. Mayo. In recent years Kieran O'Malley, his wife Marjorie, son Seán and daughter Maebh have re-rejuvenated the practice by producing Achill Island Sea Salt in the old fashioned way, from the pure water of the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh seawater is harvested from the ocean by hand, just like in previous generations, except Kieran and his family have replaced the buckets once used for tanks that can hold 2000 litres. This water is then made into a brine, before being crystallised and dried to produce a flakey, crunchy salt, much loved by chefs and consumers alike.
Achill Island Sea Salt makes the perfect seasoning for all your Christmas foods. From a pinch sprinkled over the turkey or roast potatoes for a crackly savoury finish in the oven, to seasoning the stuffing and gravy and all the other savoury dishes that make Christmas delicious. An intense salty flavour of the sea is what you taste when you use Achill Island Sea Salt.
The complex mineral character of this salt comes from minerals naturally occurring in the Atlantic Ocean around Achill Island, and the spring waters which flow down from the mountains on the island into the sea. A little goes a long way here, as the taste is complex, minerally and balanced.
Heading to Gifted - The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair this weekend? Make sure to stop by Achill Island Sea Salt's stand at the fair.
Re-discovering the ancient Kingdom of Oriel
The ancient Kingdom of Oriel, which includes Co. Louth, has thousands of years of history. Clogherhead, the majestic coastal headland which was part of the ancient Kingdom, is named from the Irish word ‘clogher’ meaning rocky. This was the place from where Neolithic settlers found the large rocks and boulders used to build the famous Newgrange Neolithic Tomb in the Boyne Valley. Going further back, Clogherhead is credited with being the ‘Birthplace of Ireland.’ Five hundred million years ago, this part of the coast was the center of an important Tectonic Plate shift, which saw the continents of America and Europe collide. Geologicial experts say the ‘concertina’ folds in the rocks at Clogherhead show the smashing together of the land in this huge shift, to reveal how the island of Ireland was formed. Add to all this unique history, the fact that the waters around this part of the coast are richer in salt and minerals than any other part of Ireland.
Hence the creation of Oriel Sea Salt. Produced at Port Oriel at Clogherhead, with the latest in technology. This salt goes through several filtration and purification systems over many hours, leaving behind a pure natural product, certified by the Organic Trust. Oriel Sea Salt enjoys Protected Designation of Origin, the most prestigious of EU Classifications, covering food products which originate in a specific place or region, whose quality and characteristics are essentially exclusive to a particular geographical environment, and where all production steps take place in the defined geographical area.
This designation helps secure true regional culinary identity for Ireland. Oriel Sea Salt is a fine grained salt, available as a natural, slightly clumping sea salt, or a kiln dried free running. Both are intensely flavoured with the natural salt and mineral content of the water here. You don’t need very much to enhance your Christmas cooking. Oriel Teeling Whiskey Smoked Sea Salt is a brilliant product for marinades for meat or fish this Christmas.
Duvillaun Fine Foods
Jane Harnett is a woman of many talents. Her family and her have already set up a successful food business, Harnett's Oils on their Waringstown Estate in Co. Down, which has been producing Award Winning Oils for some time. All of Harnett’s oils are made from homegrown seeds, cold pressed and bottled at the farm. Hemp oil is unique among edible oils for its perfect balance of Omega 3,6 and 9 essential fatty acids, highly acclaimed for good heart health and skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Now Jane has turned her eye to producing sea salt harvested from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Co. Mayo. Jane explains the process commenting,
'"Our sea salt comes from sea water hand harvested from around the island, which is known to have some of the cleanest waters in the world and is a protected area. We process the sea water and package the salt in our own plant at our Waringstown Estate. Our sea salt comes from what is probably the cleanest water on the planet."
Dubh Salt is branded under the Duvillaun Fine Foods label, and comes in handy 100g bottle salt grinders. It has a strong fresh salty flavour of the sea and a little goes a long way to seasoning any dish. A perfect partner with Harnett’s Culinary Oils, for making any dish taste absolutley delish!