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Himalayan salt block cooking

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We received a Himalayan salt block as a Christmas challenge: Figure out what you can do with this big piece of salt. These salt blocks are hand carved from blocks of salt in the salt mine in Khewra, Pakistan, which has been operating since 320 BC. This salt block came from the Salt Cellar in Portsmouth, NH and you can order these blocks from them on line.

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Some writers have suggested that you can heat these blocks hot enough to cook on, but the instructions that came with the salt block (8” x 8” x 2”) suggest that 150º F is the upper limit. This may vary with the imperfections of individual pieces.

So, if we have this block of salt that we can heat to 150º, what can we do with it? Well, it takes a long time to heat, so we put it in the oven at 150º for about an hour before dinner.

Two things come to mind: it would make an interesting cheese board, and a useful warm serving platter.

For this meal, we cut up some tomatoes and onions and broiled some chicken breasts. Then we arranged them all on the salt block for self-assembly along with some toasted English muffins.

How did it turn out? The sandwiches were delicious. The salt block added just a trace of flavor to the chicken and the vegetables and made the serving of a simple meal somewhat more festive. We’ll definitely do this again!

Cleaning the salt block just amounts to a quick swipe with a damp cloth or towel. However, as you can see in the slide show, the impression of the tomato and onion slices is pretty obvious: they have plenty of water in them and the salt block dissolved a bit under them. So these blocks are slowly consumable.

The instructions caution you against putting the block into a dishwasher! Duh!

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