The Salt Chef shares a top secret for a festive dish on your Christmas table

Chris Cormack takes the meal to the next level

16 November 2023 - 14:10 By Staff Writer
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The Salt chef gears up for the silly season with a delectable fish dish.
The Salt chef gears up for the silly season with a delectable fish dish.
Image: Supplied

Chef Patron Craig Cormack, from SALT Road and SALT@Waterford which he runs with Beau du Toit, shares one of his secret recipes on how to take your Christmas lunch or dinner to the next level.

As salt experts,  Cormack and Du Toit believe in incorporating salt into every aspect of your meal. 

For this recipe they have used a Himalayan salt slab, something many of us have been given as gifts and are not sure what to do with it, or have thought about buying but are not too sure how to get the most out of it.



For the salmon gravlax: 850g fresh salmon and 2 large blocks Himalayan salt

For the garnish:

20g capers, deep fried

40g cream cheese

3 thin slices red onion

10g baby green leaves/micros

Grissini — very thin slices of bread, toasted

8 lemon wedges

30ml olive oil for garnish

  1. Pin bone the side of salmon (remove all bones with fish pliers). Using the Himalayan salt blocks, place the salmon trout sides on the block. On top of the trout place more blocks to cure the fish for one hour. Once cured, rinse the salmon and slice thinly with a sharp knife to get thin slivers.
  2. Arrange them onto a plate or salt block with a dollop of cream cheese, deep fried capers, lemon, grissini and red onion. Lightly sprinkle with baby leaves or micros and olive oil.
  3. When you cook food on a Himalayan salt slab, the moisture from the food draws the salt from the slab, adding rich flavour and trace minerals to the dish. Himalayan salt slabs are very versatile. They can be heated up to 250°C and frozen to -20°C, making it an exciting way to serve both hot and cold food. It is ideal for grilling meat in the oven or on the braai and can also be used to cure fish such as trout. 

Important points to remember when using a Himalayan salt slab:

  • Only use a pure Himalayan salt slab.
  • They are great for cooking either on the stove, on the braai or in the oven.
  • They are perfect for freezing and serving cold food.
  • They are full of trace minerals, imparting a rich flavour to food which is impossible to get with conventional salt.
  • Moisture helps to draw salt out of the slab, so make sure food is as dry as it can be before laying it on the slab.
  • Do not use additional seasoning as the slab will add all it needs.
  • The longer food is in contact with the slab, the saltier it will be, so wait to plate until the last minute, and cook food quickly.

To use on a braai: Heat gently on a cool side of the fire for 15 minutes, and gradually move to the centre to heat fully. Cook on the slab on the fire for as long as you like or remove to an insulated surface where it will cook for about 20 minutes.

To use in the oven: Put the slab into a cold oven, and let it preheat with the oven. When the oven is hot and you're ready to cook, place your food directly onto the slab. Start your temperature at 120ºC for 40 minutes, 200ºC for 30 minutes and then 250ºC for 30 minutes. The slab should turn a whitish colour and make a sound like its crackling.

To use on the stove: Heat on a medium flame for about 15 minutes, then turn up the heat for another 15 minutes. Cook directly on the slab for as long you like or remove to an insulated surface to cook for about 20 minutes.

To serve: Freeze overnight and serve food directly on the slab. Serve at room temperature.

Care instructions

  • Make sure to heat the salt slab slowly to ensure even heating. Heating it too quickly can result in large cracks appearing, reducing the life of the salt slab and possibly resulting in shattering.
  • The product is made from natural Himalayan salt and it will have natural striations and rough edges.
  • To clean, remove any solid food pieces and wipe with a cloth, I rinse my blocks when cold under cold water and dry off with a cloth.
  • Store dry for best results.

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