2007-11-01 13:02:21.0 food4fun: Hey Russ, what made you want to write about salt roasting?
2007-11-01 13:02:23.0 food4fun: And what are you gonna write about next?
2007-11-01 13:05:00.0 Russ Parsons: hiya food4fun: the first thing that got me intrigued was that dish I had at Providence. It was so amazing and when I asked Michael about it, it reminded me that I'd read about it before--it's one way to roast big piece of beef, and there are similar things done in Chinese cooking with chicken. but i thought it might be pretty complicated, so i put it off for a week or two. then the first time i tried it, i realized it was so incredibly simple and the results were so incredibly good, i had to look into it further. as for what's next .... what was yesterday? do you know what halloween means in food writer land? it means there's only 3 weeks to Thanksgiving. and 7 weeks to Christmas. this time of year is pretty programmed. no matter how often you write about it, people still want more ideas about holiday meals. and who can blame them? we've got some great stuff coming up.
2007-11-01 13:05:22.0 Ed Sails: Hi Russ, I did enjoy the salt roasting article. Is the cooking time the only way to judge doneness?
2007-11-01 13:06:33.0 amy: At long last, a use for all that rock salt my dh has been stockpiling!
2007-11-01 13:06:52.0 Ed Sails: It seems when you talked about 5 degree increments between medium rare etc., it would be really hard to judge.
2007-11-01 13:07:21.0 Russ Parsons: the timing on these is pretty exact. the test kitchen checked them all out. with fish, that's pretty much the only way. with pork, you can easily penetrate the crust with an instant-read thermometer without messing it up. lobster is somewhere in the middle. to get the timing, i used a thermometer i've got where the temperature probe is connected to a digital readout by a cable. so i buried the probe in the lobster, coated everything with salt and then roasted to 150 degrees (a good doneness point for lobster). Then I re-tested it to make sure the timing was right.
2007-11-01 13:07:34.0 Ed Sails: Hi Russ, good to chat with you again. I have a few thermometer questions. I know you like instant read thermometers (I have 2). My questions are: Id it a problem with roasts etc. if you prick it multiple times with an instant read thermometer? Doesn't the juice flow out? Also, what do you think of the remote thermometers, especially the wireless ones. I need something that would work with a rotisserie. Any you'd recommend?
2007-11-01 13:08:13.0 Russ Parsons: re: the rock salt: were you expecting snow one of these days? rock salt works, but i don't think it's quite as good as kosher salt. when you add the water, it's slushier. but i did test the potatos with the rock salt and it worked fine.
2007-11-01 13:10:59.0 Russ Parsons: ed, about the thermometer, i'll try to take these in order: at that end of the roasting spectrum, temperature goes up about a degree a minute, so a 5-degree swing is about 5 minutes. it's enough to make a difference, but not crucial. 10 degrees is more like crucial. it's not a problem to test a couple of times, but remember that degree-a-minute rule and don't be running in there every 2 minutes. Also, I have one of those remote thermometers and, truthfully, i'm not nuts about it. as i recall, you can't set a specific temperature, but you have to set it according to what they think the differen doneness points are ... and i rarely agree. but they are about the best solution for a rotisserie. still, i find when i do stuff on the spit, i just go by look and then verify with the instant-read.
2007-11-01 13:11:05.0 amy: no he had it for the ice cream machine. Using this technique with veggies, does it work best with root veggies? I know you said you tried it with pears...
2007-11-01 13:12:03.0 Russ Parsons: i think i lost part of your note amy. i only tried this with potatoes and it worked great. i didn't try it with carrots or any other root vegetable. but that would be an interesting exploration.
2007-11-01 13:14:03.0 amy: Last night I made your steamed eggplant salad. I liked it alot. Mydh didn't warm to cold eggplant. Just now I MW'ed the leftovers and it tasted great.
2007-11-01 13:15:05.0 Russ Parsons: i think that would be good warm, too. eggplant does have a distinctive texture--i'm not sure anything else shares it. it's very soft and moist and i guess maybe that takes some getting used to when it's cold.
2007-11-01 13:15:59.0 Ed Sails: I know it's been popular to salt-roast prime rib. What's your experience with that?
2007-11-01 13:17:34.0 Russ Parsons: salt-roasting prime rib works really, really well, too. it's pretty easy to find a good recipe for that on the internet. Also, I heard this morning from my friend Paula Wolfert who has been roasting things on a bed of salt--not covered. she says chicken comes out with a really crisp skin that way. the only thing i can figure is that the salt absorbs the moisture out of the oven (food gives off steam when it's cooking). but if Paula says it, I believe it. She's a great cook.
2007-11-01 13:17:44.0 amy: My newly wed daughter has been designated the 2 stuffing provider this Thanksgiving. One of the stuffings will be cornbread. She wants an idea for the second one. No oysters, please!
2007-11-01 13:19:28.0 Russ Parsons: Oh, there's a world of stuffings. The one my family keeps asking for I make with smoked sausage (kielbasa), sauteed with mustard greens and folded into bread cubes. i also developed one for this year (it'll run week after next) with leeks, mushrooms and walnuts that was really good. The trick is: the bread is bland and is there to absorb turkey juice. basically, anything you can think of that would go with turkey will go in a stuffing.