*This article has been updated for accuracy and new content, July 2017
If you’ve been to Williams-Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, or Sur La Table recently, chances are you’ve come across a Himalayan Salt Plate. Pink, marbled, and surprisingly heavy, they’ve been a featured gift for housewarmings and weddings all year.
But they are a bit mysterious. How does one use them? Are they for cooking? Grilling? Chilling? Presentation?
The answer: all of the above.
Salt is an amazing substance. Because of its crystalline structure, it heats extremely evenly and then retains heat for a surprisingly long time. In addition, it’s virtually un-meltable in a traditional home kitchen (its melting point is 1474oF). This makes it an ideal surface for cooking.
Though they make an odd-seeming gift, these hefty blocks are actually one of ASE’s favorite finds this year. They look beautiful on a countertop or table, and they are a versatile, flavorful, and creative way to cook and present food.
IDEAS FOR USING YOUR HIMALAYAN SALT BLOCK:
Heat your salt block to the correct temperature (we recommend The Meadow’s Guide to Salt Blocks to get yourself up to speed on how to prepare and maintain your salt block), take it off the heat and put it on a trivet, and then place thinly-sliced proteins and veggies on the block and sear away! You can even do this tableside at a dinner party for maximum impact if you’ve prepared your food and salt block beforehand.
Alternatively, you can place your salt block on top of a grill and use it as a quick way to evenly grill and season your meat, simultaneously!
For an extra-delicious take on the classic “Chicken under a brick”, heat up your salt block on the grill, then throw on a piece of butterflied chicken and place the hot salt block down on top of it. It will press, firm, sear, and season your chicken, all at the same time!
Want to make Ginny’s famous Watermelon, Feta, Tomato & Mint Salad even better? Present it on a Pink Himalayan Salt block! It looks beautiful and the moisture in the watermelon and tomato will absorb just a hint of the delicious mineral salt!
Note: if you’re concerned about over-salting your food, don’t be. Your block’s lack of porosity means that the surface area that comes into contact with your food is quite minimal, resulting in only light salting. Additionally, Himalayan Salt blocks have a high number of trace minerals, meaning that the saltiness they impart is milder and more complex than traditional table salt—giving your foods a richer salty flavor.
ASE’s top tips for your salt block:
- We recommend keeping two separate salt blocks: one for cooking and one for presentation
- Be sure to assign a “top” and “bottom” of your cooking block (i.e. always sear foods on the same side of the block for the life of the block), because if you flip your block, any fissures created during cooking can become more pronounced
- DO NOT PUT YOUR SALT BLOCK IN THE DISHWASHER! To clean, just gently moisten it with a sponge and then wipe it down with a stainless steel scouring pad to remove any proteins that have adhered to the surface. Salt is naturally anti-microbial, so once those proteins are gone, just pat dry with a paper towel and you’re all set!
Find Himalayan Salt Blocks and Accessories:
- Himalayan Salt Plate with Holder at Williams-Sonoma.
- Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks on Amazon
ASE’s favorite Salt Block recipes:
- Salt-brick grilled chicken
- Salt Block Sliders
- Salt Block Salmon with Mustard Dill Glaze
- Himalyan Salt Block Prawns and Scallops
Check out our article on for more salt talk!