Cooking on a Himalayan salt plate is a wonderful thing.
It can be unpredictable – but then that’s part of the charm of sautéing scallops on a hard, pink block chiseled out of the ground.
Just as the earth cracks when it’s hot and dry, so it’s normal for the Himalayan salt plate to develop small cracks when subjected to oven-high temperatures. The best way to prevent any large cracks which could split the block is to heat and cool it as slowly and evenly as possible.
Start the Himalayan salt plate in a cool oven, and keep turning up the temperature over 40 minutes before blasting it at a high heat until the surface is speckled-white, and the block is emitting as much heat as you would expect from a hot hob ring. Similarly, allow the Himalayan salt plate to cool slowly after cooking, and clean it with a damp sponge.
It’s hard to provide strict guides on temperatures and timings when cooking on salt plates - instinct has to prevail.
When we cooked the scallops on the salt plate it gave them a beautiful, even salty flavour which couldn’t be achieved with finishing salts. But the scallops didn’t develop the distinctive, caramelized colour that cooked scallops usually take on.
So this recipe is perhaps best for experienced scallop-cookers who can spot whether the scallop is cooked from its subtle changes in texture and colour. Sadly, it’s hard to provide strict guides on temperatures and timings when cooking on Himalayan salt plates, and instinct has to prevail.
Ingredients Serves: 2
- Heat the salt plate as directed above, remove from the oven and place on a folded, dry towel.
- Coat the scallops in olive oil, and place on the salt block until they are done.
- Season with ground Szechuan pepper and lemon zest, and serve.
If you love the cool spiciness of Sichuan pepper, try Timut pepper which carries the same intense heat.
After a stage as a chef at a London Michelin-starred restaurant Nicola became obsessed with seeking the best flavours from around the world. She started Sous Chef in 2012, and is always sharing her knowledge of ingredients and writing recipes to showcase those products. Learning from the products, Sous Chef's suppliers and her travels, Nicola has written the majority of the recipes on the Sous Chef website, all of which are big on flavour.