As many of you know who read my blog, each Thursday I chat with Matt Swaimon the Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio, about Bible foods and herbs. Today the subject was salt.
The well known phrase “salt of the covenant” refers to the eternal covenant between God and his people: Leviticus Chapter 2, verse 13 – “Every offering must be seasoned with salt because salt is the reminder of God’s covenant.”
Salt is probably the most common seasoning we use today. Yet it has its roots in the Bible. Salt was a symbol of hospitality. The custom of serving appetizers as a token of hospitality included salted fish and olives. Talking about the covenant, To eat salt and food with anyone was to form an unbreakable bond of friendship.
What kind of salt was available in Bible days?
Salt was mined from the salt hills around the Dead Sea and salt deposited on the banks of that sea when it overflowed every year provided plenty of sea salt, which has minerals that salt mined from the earth does not.
The Hebrew people harvested salt by pouring sea water into pits and letting the water evaporate until only salt was left. They used the mineral for seasoning and as a preservative for meats and such. Salt was also used to disinfect wounds. That of course had to sting a bit. I think that’s where the old saying rubbing salt on a wound.
Different kinds of salt today
There are lots of kinds of salt today: seasoning salts to use during cooking and finishing salts which are more expensive and sprinkled on right before you eat. One of my favorites is Himalayan Pink Salt from the mountains of the Himalayas. It’s supposed to be the most healthy and loaded with minerals that salt mined from the earth usually doesn’t have.
Kosher vs regular salt
Besides being processed in a Kosher kitchen, Kosher salt can be rolled or flaked which allows it to dissolve better than regular table salt, plus it doesn’t usually have any additives. You’ll need more Kosher salt spoon for spoon than regular due to its shape.
Kosher salt, unlike some table salts is usually iodine-free. It’s called kosher salt because the size of its crystals is ideal for drawing out moisture from meat, making it perfect for use in the koshering process.
A Good Kosher Salt Substitute
- Your best bet: Coarse sea salt or flaky salts. These usually don’t contain additives.
SALTED CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/ salted butter, cold, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1⁄2 cups flour
1 nice cup/ 6 oz.semi-sweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the butter, both sugars and vanilla on medium-high till it’s super light and fluffy.
Scrape down sides of bowl, and with the mixer on low, slowly add flour, followed by the chocolate chunks, and mix just to blend. If necessary, knead the dough with your hands to make sure the flour is totally incorporated. At this point, the dough should be smooth and feel like Play-Doh with no pockets of flour.
Divide the dough in half, placing each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over so that it covers the dough to protect your hands from getting all sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a log shape; rolling it on the counter will help you smooth it out, but don’t worry about getting it totally perfect. Each half should form a 6-inch log, 2 to 21⁄4 inches in diameter.
Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice each log into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds.
If the cookies break or fall apart, just press them back together — the dough is very forgiving. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart (they won’t spread much). Sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly. Makes about 24.
You can also roll the chilled logs in coarse sugar so they get a crackly edge. Do this before cutting them into rounds.
The cookie dough can be made ahead and stored, tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 1 week in the refrigerator, or 1 month in the freezer. Cookies can be baked and stored in plastic wrap or an airtight container for 5 days.
Adapted only slightly from NYTimes.