General Discussion


Salt & Pepper


General Discussion 21

Salt & Pepper

MrEvans | Jan 3, 2004 01:44 AM

- Every other recipe seems to say "add salt and pepper" to taste.

- What if the cook's taste differs from those for whom they create? If cooking a pasta sauce for six, for example, should one go with what tastes good to them, or is there another rule of thumb?

- I watch shows where someone seemingly creates a great dish, then the chef takes a finger sample and says it needs "more seasoning."

Is there some sort of formula or standard measurement that defines how much salt/pepper a dish needs? Or is it purely subjective?

I'm not a professional cook, but from experience I think I prefer fries or potato chips with a definite salty taste. But I wouldn't want a salty-tasting dessert.

So for virgin coooks, what would you suggest for dishes, intricate sauces and other subtle endeavors, where personal preferences haven't been refined?

I ask this because I spent much of the day cooking a very complex French-influenced beef stew. Multiple hours of cooking with many layers of complex flavors (wine, herbs, braised meats, root veggies, etc) introduced at exacts moments. This dish was compiled from a mix of recipes, some of which called for ongoing splashes of S&P while others suggested waiting until the end.

As a cook, I often like to produce a final dish that has that "pop" where the dish needs no other influence.

As an eater, I often like to enjoy a dish where I can dictate the final taste through the last minute manipulation of seasonings. Salt and Pepper are usually staples, but depending on the dish, I might add a final flurry of other stuff (Asian foods are a great example - fish sauce, wasabi, soy, pepper flakes, etc.).

Hence the conflict. And the confusion. I'm sure there are multiple answers, but in general, is there a rule of thumb that dictates S&P usage? Should your bolognase sauce be salty? Should it pop with recently ground pepper? Or would it stand on its own?

Thanks in advance...

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