What is Cooking: Lime and salt

Page Ventresca

What’s Cooking is a collection in which I answer issues and share advice about food items and cooking that you have but may be as well shy to request.

Lime and salt are two substances that give us so considerably flavour and taste but when made use of unwisely, when we enable them overstay their welcome, they rob us of those exact attributes – flavour and taste. But let us place the blame wherever it belongs, with us, cooks. Caribbean men and women specially, overdo it when it comes to liming and salting our seafood, poultry, and meat all in the name of cleanliness. Here’s the base line, if your fish, hen, beef, pork or lamb smells so offensive that you have to lather it in lime and salt, chances are that it is not good and you should really not prepare dinner it.

The addition of lime and salt to seafood and poultry was born in an period when there was no refrigeration. That is surely not the scenario now, but the actuality is that some aged behaviors are difficult to die.

Most individuals who worship at the altar of lime and salt will convey to you that the rationale they lime and salt their proteins in advance of seasoning and cooking, is to get rid of the rankness, some refer to it as that “fresh smell”. The fact is that the scent of your seafood, poultry or meat need to be pretty much non-existent. There should in no way be an offending odour. Like I mentioned, if there is, then your buy is not contemporary. But I know that quite a few people today get new substances and nevertheless matter them to an onslaught of lime and salt, and it is not so significantly that the ritual of liming and salting will take put, but it is the quantity of time that the fish or meat is put in in this concoction that is alarming. I have heard tales of men and women liming and salting fish for an hour. Just one female informed me she place her meat and chicken in lime and salt for two hours! And on however a further occasion I heard of meat getting in lime and salt overnight in the refrigerator. I. Am. Not. Joking.

Even though I do not have grand patterns of starting off a revolution of no lime and salt with this column, my people today, all across the length and breadth of the Caribbean, and people of you in the diaspora as well, all I check with is that you study this column with an open up thoughts. If I can no cost just one particular particular person from his or her obsession with lime and salt, then my task for currently is performed but the work, nonetheless, carries on.

Seafood, poultry, or meat, marinating or as we like to say, soaking in a mixture of lime and salt for a prolonged time period will end result in the protein being cooked in some way. Fish and shrimp would be cooked by way of in no time due to the organic tenderness of the flesh and this would be evidenced by how white or opaque it results in being. With poultry and meat, you will observe the edges and surface change gray or white the outer texture will improve, turning into a little bit mushy and simple to rub off. What has taken position below is that the acidity of the lime juice has cooked the protein and the salt made use of in conjunction with the lime has drawn out a lot of the all-natural humidity. Not only do lime and salt prepare dinner protein partially, and in some scenarios, absolutely, but they also near up the pores on the floor that allow seasonings to penetrate and greatly enhance the all-natural flavour of the meat or seafood.

Numerous cooks vacation resort to building deep gashes, incisions, and pockets in the flesh of fish and meat, and generously filling them with pastes like environmentally friendly seasoning in an work to year and impart some flavour to the protein. Even so, when this is performed, all it signifies is that you, your family members, and visitors will locate by themselves biting into uncooked or undercooked seasoning as they tuck into their seafood, poultry, or meat. The all-natural flavour that distinguishes it is dropped, gone. As a outcome, all you flavor upfront is the uncooked, undercooked seasoning that overpowers.

Prior to I go on, let me be distinct that there are numerous locations for lime and salt to be made use of in tandem when preparing certain dishes these types of as ceviche – a dish of raw fish or shrimp marinated in lime juice together with onions, tomatoes, and peppers. There are particular Caribbean fish dishes as nicely where by the lime juice, salt and herbs are used to create a specific flavour these kinds of as Dominica’s Fish Coubouillon the place the fish has to marinate for 2 hrs in lime, drinking water, salt, and pepper and then be cooked in the exact liquid along with garlic and environmentally friendly onions that have been sautéed in butter. Lime and salt together with oil and herbs are also made use of as marinades and in some cases poaching liquids for sure preparations, and in each scenario, there is an exacting quantity of time for which to marinate cooks and recipes will alert you that if you depart it extended than the recommended time, it will get started to prepare dinner and spoil the flavour.

The point I’m creating is this, except you are planning a dish exactly where lime and salt are an integral aspect of the flavour of the dish, then marinating or soaking fish and meat for a lengthy time period of time in this sort of an acidic and salty natural environment, for the sake of cleaning it, will damage the all-natural flavour and texture.

Even now skeptical, right? Shaking your head and saying, ‘Cynthia can speak all she likes but I am not likely to cease placing lime and salt in my fish and meat.’ All right, but attempt this. Let us commence by ensuring that what we’re shopping for is clean. Do not be afraid to place the fish close to your nose and scent it. Examine the gills that they’re vibrant crimson or pink, the skin shiny, the flesh organization. Fresh shrimp should really be organization and shiny. These of you who reside in destinations the place fish is caught and bought every day know just by looking at the fish regardless of whether or not it is clean. At the time your fish has been gutted, filleted or lower up and you just take it property to prepare dinner, do this – fill a significant bowl with h2o, squeeze the lime juice into the h2o, (you do not have to have to add salt but if you must, sprinkle in some) promptly dip your fish into the h2o give it a swirl or two in the h2o for about 5 seconds only, take out it, straight away rinse with contemporary clean up drinking water, pat dry and continue with your recipe.

What about the chicken and meat? Honestly, as extended as your buys are fresh new, it is not required to clear it with lime and salt either, having said that, I would suggest you wipe them clean up with damp paper towels. If which is not very good plenty of for you, then go forward and rinse in either basic h2o or a lime drinking water bath as suggested higher than for seafood. Be confident to pat the meat dry ahead of seasoning and applying.




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