Cooking on salt blocks is very fashionable. You can purchase salt bricks from around the world, from the Himalayas to Hawaii. They can be beautiful and cooking on them perfectly seasons whatever food product you wish to put on them.
Recently we received some salt blocks from Cervia, Italy. Known as the “sweet salt of the popes” this salt is harvested from salt flats in existence since Etruscan times and at one time, one of the salt flats was reserved exclusively for the Papal table. I must admit to looking at my husband, Giuliano Hazan, a bit askance, what were we going to do with a big box of salt blocks? He then got a gleam in his eye that always means something delicious is cooking.
Giuliano decided that for lunch we should have beef tenderloin on a salt brick. He superheated the brick and brought it out to the top of our counter. After only a few minutes we had the most delectable, mouth watering, perfectly seasoned meat. He finished it with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper. It smelled and looked so good that I did not even wait until he put it on the table before tasting it. It was an easy masterpiece.
Cleaning the salt brick was easy. We just let it cool and scraped the surface with a dinner knife. I’m looking forward to more fun as we try scallops, eggs, and vegetables on it. I figure when the salt block wears down to an unusable level, I can always put it in the bath to sooth my aches.
BEEF TENDERLOIN ON A SALT BLOCK
by Giuliano Hazan
Serves 2 people
10 to 12 ounces beef tenderloin steaks, about 1” thick
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 salt blocks or bricks
1. Heat oven to at least 500° F. Place salt blocks on a baking sheet and heat in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.
2. Remove the salt blocks (be careful they’re very hot) from the oven and place the tenderloin steaks on them. Cook for about 2 minutes then turn the steaks over. Cook another 2 minutes then transfer to a cutting board. Slice the steaks on a bias and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle some olive oil over them, sprinkle with pepper and serve at once. The result will be perfectly salted and flavorful tenderloin. This dish is great even for those who don’t usually enjoy tenderloin steak.