Field Notes: Salt Roasting

Salt roasting is when you pack something in rock or kosher salt then bake it, usually around 350, until some time has passed. It’s commonly done with seafood, but other meats and even some veggies get salt roasted on occasion. It’s kind of amazing, because it doesn’t necessarily make the thing you’re cooking salty, and keeps it unaccountably moist. I started off with a traditional salt roasting dish:

  • Potato – did one small white potato packed in kosher salt for 50 minutes at (I think) 350ish. (I have no idea how far off this oven is.) It was tasty and really evenly cooked, and the salt came right off. Leeetle underdone. It really takes things packed in salt a while to cook.
  • Mushroom – just one plain white mushroom. I gave this 20-25 minutes. This did take up the salt, but stayed kind up more puffed up and moist than I’m used to mushrooms being. It was nice, except for the gagging on the salt thing. It made me want to play with brulee’ing maybe sous vide mushrooms or something, to see if you can have them moist *and* browned.
  • Corn on the cob – one ear, cut in half. 20 minutes Not salty, very moist, not really cooked though per se. Kind of took that one out too quick. Not sure that it was a particularly superior way of cooking corn though, but it was very evenly heated.
  • Apple – I gave this about a half hour. Ok. So the theory wasn’t *totally* crazy on this one, since the salt seemed to not penetrate much into the roasted item, but kept things moist and evenly cooked. But… well… the apple exploded at some point. I tasted it on a dare, or rather tried to get someone to dare me to taste it, and when every seemed to think that was a Bad Idea dared myself and tasted it anyway. Baked apple tastes really good. Being heavily salted however is something of a drawback. Ok, I admit: ew.
  • Garlic – This was pretty normal roasted garlic. I gave it about 40 minutes. I finished the night by whipping up a batch of baglep (a Tibetan pan fried flatbread. I’m getting a bit obsessed with quick breads at the moment.) and spread the garlic on it, but it wasn’t remarkably different from any other roasted garlic. By this time, the salt was a pretty solid brown chunk and I had to chisel the cloves out.
Neat, I didnt know salt could turn this color. Or this smell.

Neat, I didn't know salt could turn this color.

FACT: You can save and reuse the salt for future roasting.
ALSO A FACT: It starts to look and smell a little funny after two potatoes, a mushroom, an ear of corn, an exploded apple, and several cloves of garlic.
OPINION: Saving this salt is probably not a good idea.