We passionately believe that good seasoning is truly crucial to taking your cooking to the next level. The world of herbs and spices is complex and exciting, allowing you to infuse inspiration from all over the world into your dishes, whether you’re catering for a restaurant, your family or just yourself. However, there are two essential ingredients you’ll find in almost every recipe: salt and pepper.
The tricky thing is how much to use in your particular recipe. Other than the occasional call for a “pinch” of one or the other, the phrase “season to taste” is the one that comes up most often. With little experience, it can be especially tricky to decipher the meaning of this odd turn of phrase. In reality, it basically indicates you should take a trial and error approach. Adding a little more salt or pepper at a time and sampling your dish again and again will eventually allow you to determine the optimum quantity. Figuring this out can unlock the maximum flavour potential of your creation!
This is what it ultimately comes down to, at least. Throughout the cooking process, adding salt and pepper along with the rest of your seasoning can get a little more complicated. Firstly you need to decide what stage of cooking you’re going to focus on for adding your salt and pepper – for slow cooked meat, stews and similar recipes the flavours will develop better if you add salt at the beginning, while other types of dishes generally benefit from adding it at the end along with some pepper.
The other major factor is the exact types you choose of these essential condiments. There’s no benefit to having pepper that’s already ground, as it just loses its freshness and flavour. Even a basic supermarket pepper grinder means you can crush the whole peppercorns right when you need them, releasing the maximum flavour. For salt, having some standard finely-ground sea salt on hand for most basic seasoning tasks is essential, but you might want to have a second option that’s more special, such as sea salt flakes you can use to add some decoration and flavouring at the last minute.
In general, it’s important to be careful when choosing how to season your dishes with these two staple ingredients. Many ingredients are already high in salt, so you don’t want to go over the top by adding more. Delicate flavours can be masked easily if you add too much seasoning, so beware of this for certain dishes. If in doubt, less is more, but always find the time to experiment and work out what will work best next time.