National Salt Awareness Week officially kicks off on Monday 20th March – 26th March. With the aim to raise awareness for salt consumption and the damaging effects it can have on our heath, the campaign has been branded “Salt – the forgotten killer” thanks to actionsalt.org for 2017.
We all know that chef’s have a secondary relationship when it comes to cooking with butters and fats, and that’s just one love affair that we can’t break up, however here at The Comfy Duck, we’re huge ambassadors for a well balanced diet. We welcome anyone with a dietary or special requirement when it comes to our menus and we take extra precautions to reduce the amount of salt that we use in our dishes.
We do this is a number of different ways, but one of the techniques embraced by our team of highly trained chef’s is to dehydrate various ‘waste’ ingredients. These ingredients are then either blended or left on their own and ground down to a fine dust or powder. Our chef’s then use these powders to season dishes, enhancing a variety of flavours depending on the powder and the dish. Thus reduces the amount of salt used to season our dishes, therefore excusing our chef’s love of butter, and reducing salt intake.
Mushroom peelings, which would usually be used in soup’s or discarded are dehydrated and ground down to a super fine powder. Mushroom dust is one of our most used natural seasonings, and brings out the richness in many meats and vegetables. It has a cocoa-like consistency and even smells a little bit like chocolate!
Scallop Roe Dust
Scallop Roe isn’t an ingredient you’ll hear much about, however every scallop we receive from our local fishmonger will come with the roe attached. Some restaurants serve the roe as it bulks out the dish, however the roe shouldn’t really be served as it’s much more chewy in texture and has a slight bitter taste. Slowly cooking and dehydrating the scollop roe and blending down to a fine red-orange powder smells incredibly fishy, and on it’s own isn’t the most appealing of ingredients. However used as a seasoning on fish dishes, it beautifully enhances the flavour of the fish and adds a natural saltines, removing the need to season with salt!
We also apply the above dehydrating techniques to tomato skins and beetroots to name a few, using these in the same flavour-enhancing manor as the scallop roe and mushroom skins.
Here at The Comfy Duck, we also add a variety of flavours to unbleached, natural sea salts with herbs that are grown in our gardens at the Oaklands Hall Hotel. Hardy herbs such as rosemary and thyme are best, as the flavours are much stronger and contain more oils. They’re frozen at the end of their season, and when needed they’re blended with sea salt to add natural fragrances and flavours to our natural salts.