Naomi Duguid ‘The Miracle of Salt’ Cookbook Review: A Vital Reference for Pickling, Preserving, and Flavoring

One of the first meals I comprised of an thrilling new cookbook was a easy stir-fry, however I might by no means have finished it with out the nudge that the guide gave me. Another dish I made, Chinese brined eggs, was surprisingly straightforward; they merely sat in a salty bathtub with a couple of different elements for a pair of weeks, however in that point they reworked into one thing advanced and launched me to one thing new.

The stir-fry and brined eggs are from The Miracle of Salt: Recipes and Techniques to Preserve, Ferment, and Transform Your Food, an impressive single-ingredient journey around the globe. Readers might surprise the place it is going to go—maybe taking deep dives in pink Himalayan, or visiting with the sauniers of France as they skim for fleur de sel. While salt sorts and consultants like which can be current, this guide focuses on learn how to use salt and methods to create extra scrumptious meals. In different phrases, it is a cookbook, and we’re within the succesful palms of veteran cookbook writer and journey author Naomi Duguid, whose Burma: Rivers of Flavor cookbook is amongst my favorites. She makes use of Salt’s recipes to deepen our data of an ingredient utilized by nearly everybody. This is a feat, as globetrotting cookbooks can really feel like they poach little bits of info from right here and there, creating an entire that is lower than the sum of its components. (Full disclosure: I’ve met Duguid, talked store, and shucked oysters together with her a number of years in the past at a food-writer business occasion.)

Preserving lemon slices

Photograph: Richard Jung/Artisan Books

Right after I obtained the guide, I obtained a couple of issues rolling, as they required time to mature. Along with these eggs, I made preserved lemons, principally simply to strive a North African twist that Duguid likes the place, as an alternative of quartering the citrus lengthwise and leaving the bottom intact, she slices them, salts all sides, and stacks the slices in a jar simply huge sufficient to suit the lemony pinwheels. This is nice in the event you simply need to use a bit (or rather a lot) of preserved lemon in a dish, versus the dedication of the more-common quartering method.

I additionally used gobs of fenugreek, mustard, fennel, and nigella seeds to make a vat of inexperienced mango pickle, which sat subsequent the lemons and Acadian salted scallions (actually simply salt, scallions, and time) for a month, each getting tastier day by day.

With these underway, I made a salad of fast cucumber pickles, the cukes sliced and salted then spending the evening within the fridge earlier than being coated with a dressing of mirin, soy, and sesame oil. Nothing groundbreaking, however make sufficient of it and, as Duguid notes, it retains within the fridge for every week. I made miso French dressing to placed on a weeknight salad, put collectively her Thai-style grilled beef as a result of I like any excuse to make use of fish sauce as a marinade, and rounded out the week together with her spaghetti alla puttanesca as a result of I like dinner.

I quick-salted egg yolks, parking 4 of the orbs in divots in a sq. Tupperware full of salt, then added extra crystals to cowl them fully. After every week, they emerged like apricot-colored gummy discs, earlier than air-drying in cheesecloth the fridge for one other week, which readied them to be grated like Parmesan onto cooked veggies or add lingering depth to pasta.

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