It's about time Thomas Keller teaches us all to cook something without us having to hoist that giant copy of Ad Hoc at Home onto our kitchen counters. Today Keller helps the Los Angeles Times kick off its new monthly "Master Class" series that will find contemporary kitchen legends dropping culinary science on home cooks (Tom Colicchio, Nancy Silverton, and Sang Yoon appear to be in for future features).
From the get-go, Keller admits, "There's good reason to be a bit skeptical of kitchen tips no matter their source." Okay, well, we guess we'll keep reading anyway. Not only that, but he himself is guilty of ending recipes with the words "Season with salt and pepper." He says the whole phrase is "a bit misleading," before going on to demonstrate what proper seasoning is all about.
Keller expounds on the proper preparation and uses for wet and dry brining, as well as how to temper salmon, in pursuit of maximum flavor and superior texture in a recipe for Meyer-lemon-cured salmon that he offers in the audio portion of this particular "Master Class." Along the way, he sneaks in a plug for his poulet r├┤ti at Bouchon, which yes, is properly seasoned, says the chef, thank you very much.
Besides tripe, we can't think of an ingredient we'd rather see Keller waxing poetic on than salt, especially after the chef told L.A. Weekly it "has always been my favorite ingredient. There's nothing else that's more at the foundation of great cooking than salt." The chef makes clear, perhaps to critics who say he overdoes it with the stuff, "When you use salt to intensify flavor, though, it should be barely perceptible." Especially when Mayor Bloomberg is poking around your restaurants, we think he forgot to add.
In any case, once you master Keller's advice on seasoning, it's quickly sous vide time for his next recipe, roasted Chioggia beets. And sorry, you're a little on your own, as there's no audio on this one.