Salt Flakes Sea Smoked Maldon
First Sensory Evaluation
This Smoked Maldon (referring to the brand of salt From Maldon in the UK) is well, salty! No sweetness, not sour, not bitter but actually rather umami. Perhaps reminiscent of umami, if you will. I came across this salt in an odd environment, my cafeteria class. It’s described as odd because when I think of a cafeteria I think of table side salt; not glamorous at all. But here we have Maldon Salt, Flaky Smoked Maldon Salt. Sounds refined, glamorous, everything a cafeteria is not, until I walk through the door! Kidding… If anything I fit the cafeteria environment perfectly.
But we’re not here to evaluate my current sense or style or smell, no, no, no. We are here to talk about this beautifully flaky Maldon salt!
With light brown marks spread throughout, giving it that true smoky appeal. It smells perfectly preserved liked a gorgeous smoked salmon. Not just any smoked salmon, high quality salmon that provides more umami opposed to the often cheap smoked salmon which can taste like rotten fish. The salt feels like small shards of ice flakes, when tasting it you can hear and feel a delicate crunch in your mouth right before it melts away leaving the taste of the full ocean behind. Besides smoked salmon it also reminds me of smoked meats. Do you see the trend here? Smoked, smoked and more smoked. This food is unique to me because firstly, you don’t see it at your everyday supermarket. I’ve always been aware of different flavoured salts, but this was my first time seeing smoked salt and getting to know the type of salt being that it’s Maldon. “The iPhones of salt” (N. Paumgarten for Bon Appetite.com). Maybe I’ve heard of it before, but I don’t seem to remember it. The monosodium glutamate appeal provides the aforementioned reminiscent umami, meaty flavour from the smokiness, count how many times I’ve said smoked.
I have learned that I am really sensitive to salt flavours. Now I know why my Chef is always docking off marks for being under seasoned. I really enjoyed trying this salt I would most definitely purchase it again I think it is a great addition to my boring table side salt used at dinner. I’d much prefer to add this savoury ingredient, that is similar in texture to a crisped potato chip, to my beloved medium rare new york strip every now and then. Upon experimenting with the salt I was delighted to find absolutely nothing unappealing about it. I really enjoyed it. I can see myself potentially using this salt also in a Rigatoni like the one made at Dimmi Trattoria in Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario. This experience has really changed the way I look at food and seasonings. Pushing my knowledge and understanding of flavours, taste, and different sensory skills has made it easier for me to explain my thought process.
Paumgarten, N. “The History of Maldon Salt.” Food Innovation Group, July 01, 2019. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/history-of-maldon-salt
Fish Cake Soup
This past winter (while preparing for culinary school), I traveled to Korea for the second time. Korea has a tremendous amount of night markets as well as street food vendors. They serve a variety of traditional and non-traditional foods; the food that I absolutely love indulging in whilst wandering the streets of Hongdae is called “Eomuk (어묵)” or “fish cake.” Fish cakes are puréed fish paired with a variety of ingredients formed in different shapes and sizes. One common shape of fish cake is a flat version. Many Korean night stands tend to use this shape; the flat fish cake is formed with rectangle sheets of fish cake that are sliced into pieces, placed on a stick, and are then left soaking in a sardine and kelp based stock. After initial preparation they are then fried. Today I’ve decided to replicate this soup for my friends and I, street vendor style in honour of Korea and all of their delicious comfort foods. Below you’ll find my recipe for a party of 4.
2 1/2 Tbsp
2 1/2 Tbsp
What's in it
Fish Cake (rectangle)
Fish Cake different shapes
Small Daikon Radish
Thai Chilis (depending on how spicy you’d like it)
Soy Sauce Soup Base
Garlic and Chilli Oil (optional)
1 Package Medium size skewers
Medium Size Pot
Collect all equipment.
Clean and sanitize work space.
Collect, cut and measure all ingredients.
Wash fish cakes! They hold a significant amount of oil on the top layer.
Slice your rectangle fish cake and other miscellaneous cakes and put them on skewers.
Place pot over moderate heat.
Immediately add chicken stock and water.
Once you see it simmering add radish, ginger, shallot, chilli.
When you see it starting to slightly boil add soup base soy sauce, rice wine, garlic chilli oil, and adjust as need be.
When vegetables slightly soften add fish cake skewers.
Top with green onions and allow it to rest for a couple minutes.
You can purchase fish cakes at your local Korean Market, Chinese market, fresh or frozen. You can also make these yourself. I purchased “fresh” fish cakes for todays recipe.
Instead of the classic sardine and kelp stock used with the famous fish cakes, I prepared chicken stock with the clarifying consommé method.
This was the first time I made this dish; I envisioned the recipe and although I feel it came out great, there are some methods and ingredients that I would change in the future. I have come to learn (through this exercise) that I am still not confident and as knowledgeable as I'd like to be in this field; especially when it comes to stocks. I have made it my top priority to ensure that I completely understand it. Practice makes perfect, and although this stock was not my exact vision, it has shown me that I’m headed in the right direction. Testing my knowledge and culinary skills until I am able to use simple fundamentals to make each dish as close to perfection is possible is what I aim for. My boyfriend and some of our friends did enjoy the fish cake soup but they said it was a touch too salty. I did add salt to it initially, but left it out of the recipe as all the ingredients have a good quantity of sodium. I also feel that less green onions would have been more ideal. I’ve lowered the amount on the recipe so this doesn’t happen to you. Overall this has been a great experience, and I've always known that I need more work in the kitchen. I am prepared for the challenge and excited for what's ahead of me!