Tip #3: Salt your food during cooking
I keep my container of kosher salt next to the stove so that it’s easy to sprinkle some on while I’m cooking. In fact, one of the first questions Jeff or I will ask when we wander into the kitchen while the other is cooking is “Have you salted that?” It’s not that we’re salt fiends – ok it’s not just that we’re salt fiends – but salting during cooking is much more important than salting at the end.
Often cookbooks and chef recipes refer to salting food as seasoning it, and that’s just a semantics thing. Salt plays two roles in food: to season it and to make it salty. Those crystals of salt on your potato chips are doing the latter job, but the salt you add to during cooking does the former, and that’s way more important. To understand why, you have to know a little about how you taste salt.
In small doses salt helps cover up bitter flavors. That’s why baked goods always call for a little bit of salt. The end result doesn’t taste salty, but it does taste more flavorful. A little salt early in the cooking process makes vegetables more savory and chocolate more fruity. It’s when you sprinkle salt on a dish after cooking that you end up with something that tastes salty.
That’s not to say that you should salt your food with abandon. But adding it early will result in food that tastes full of flavor rather than full of salt.