Salt and pepper. Season to taste.
You see those words in recipe after recipe. Salt and Pepper. Season to taste. It almost makes salt and pepper seem like an afterthought. But, here’s the thing…salt and pepper can make or break a meal. Not only does salt impart a flavor of its own, but it also heightens the flavors of the other ingredients. It’s a flavor magnifier! (Lemon juice does the same thing, by the way.) If a dish tastes bland to you, the solution could be as simple as adding a touch more salt.
But, it’s hard to specify what the “right” amount of salt for any given dish is. It’s a personal taste thing. When I first started my culinary program, I needed to learn the taste of a pleasing amount of salt and pepper. Time after time, my chef instructors’ main feedback was to add more salt, add more salt, ADD. MORE. SALT. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot better about gauging how much salt to start with. But, I keep a canister of salt next to my stove, so I can add more, if necessary, to get the seasoning just right before it hits the plate.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t underestimate the importance of salt and pepper. They are powerful weapons of flavor! Wield those weapons wisely and your taste buds will be most pleased! Most pleased.
This important public service message has been brought to you by the Salt and Pepper advocacy group of Central New York. You’re welcome.