JANUARY 24th, 2018:
Years ago, when I was in college and my husband and I were still dating, we spent a summer living with friends in NYC—each of us off on our own career-finding expeditions. I didn’t realize it then, but in retrospect that summer was filled with many remarkable experiences—the type of experiences that shape or solidify a life-long point-of-view. As it pertains to cooking, one such experience was an evening course at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School that I somehow convinced my husband (then boyfriend) to take with me. Both of us reminisce about this experience often. I do every time I don my Peter Kump’s apron and get serious about creating something in the kitchen.
I could go on for pages about all that I/we took away from our class at Peter Kump’s (much of it having nothing to do with cooking at all), but for the purposes of this post I’ll stick to one idea. It’s the idea that cooking at any skill level is a creative endeavor—not a process or job. Our instructor, Richard, was full of little pearls of wisdom in support of this idea. He was big on analogies and often compared cooking to painting. He said that if you didn’t salt your ingredients at every step along the way, then you’re going to end up with a watercolor—which to him was a dish that might look pretty from afar, but up-close (i.e. in your mouth), it’s a blurry canvas of color (i.e. muted blend of flavor).
So, presumably, to achieve the layers and depth of flavor of an “oil painting”, a cook must salt in little amounts frequently vs. in one-fell-swoop at the end. Only then does the salt enhance the natural flavor and vibrancy of every individual ingredient vs. make the dish as a whole taste salty. It’s easy to practice this technique and realize its benefits when making a layered dish like lasagna. I’ll cue your through it in my recipe for Wilted Winter Greens and Baby Bella Lasagna. It’s layered with flavor from top to bottom and start to finish. A masterpiece!
Click here to give this recipe a try and tell me what you think.