Learn how to season everything from meat and fish to vegetables with one simple ingredient.

By Kelly Vaughan
February 06, 2020
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If there's one condiment that you should have on hand at all times, it's salt. From a batch of brownies to creamy mashed potatoes, this versatile ingredient is used in both sweet and savory recipes. But with so many different kinds of salt available, how do you know which is best for your recipe? Below, we're sharing everything you need to know about how to season with salt.

The Different Types

Kosher salt is an all-purpose variety that works well with every recipe. Our food editors are fans of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt ($7.99, amazon.com) because it isn't too overpowering, which means you can slowly build flavor with less of a risk of over-salting your food. Plus, the grain size is not big enough to add texture (like some varieties of finishing salts) nor is it as small as table salt, which falls through your fingers easily and dissolves quickly.

How to Season Meat or Fish

Pinch kosher salt with your fingertips and hold it about 10 to 12 inches above the food, letting it fall evenly from your fingers. This will allow you to see how much salt you've used and to spread it more evenly across the entire surface of the protein. Salt both sides of the meat or fish, as well as the cavity of a whole fish. Even if you're not a fan of eating fish skin, the salt helps the skin to crisp while cooking and prevents sticking, so it's important to season thoroughly.

Adding to Taste

While most baking recipes will call for a specific amount of salt to be added with the dry ingredients, many savory recipes do not specify how much salt is needed. Whether you're cooking risotto or making homemade marinara sauce, we recommend salting and tasting the food at every stage of the cooking process. Flavors develop as a dish cooks, so your first pinch of salt will likely not be your last. Most importantly, know that it is much easier to add salt versus taking it away. So, salt lightly but frequently to ensure that your recipe is properly seasoned.

How to Save Over Salted Food

Before plating a meal, always taste the final product. If you find that it's way too salty, try adding a small amount of acid (lemon juice, wine, or vinegar) or fat (butter, cream, or oil) to counteract the saltiness. While it's not as easy to save salty baked goods or casseroles, a sweet filling between cake layers or chocolate chip cookies dipped in melted chocolate can cut the overpowering flavor.

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