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Spaghetti with veal salt. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Veal stock is an amazing elixir because it enhances the flavors around it without imposing its own flavor. It adds depth and body to food, but only to liquids, soups, stocks and sauces. My call for innovative uses of veal stock changed that with Josh Kantor’s veal salt (see the other winners here).

Josh Kantor is a 21-year-old senior economics major at Occidental College in Los Angeles and part-time garde manger at Hatfield’s Restaurant. I’ll let him elucidate.

by Josh Kantor

The inspiration behind the veal salt was the many  foods I love crisp that I couldn’t enhance with veal stock: fried chicken, popcorn, or the original motivation: french fries.  I am a sucker for the double fried super crispy fries and wanted to add a new seasoning to them.  Salt was the only vehicle I could think to transform a liquid into a seasoning tool for dry items.  From here it was just experimenting with a variety of different flavors. First I tried malt vinegar which worked extraordinarily well.  I decided to throw veal stock into a batch.  It came out better than I could have imagined and now I find that I use it on a variety of foods that I hadn’t even considered beforehand.  The fact that it also saves valuable freezer space, considering my freezer is full of different stocks already, is an added advantage.

I just threw in a new batch, which I measured in cups and also by weight.  I finally discovered the disparity that Michael often talks about in measuring by volume. I based my recipe on a suggested 2 cups of veal stock and matched it with 3 cups salt.  I use Morton’s kosher salt which, according to the internet, weighs about eight ounces per cup.  My three cups came out to 28 ounces or 800 grams or 9.3 ounces per cup. It’s always best to weigh, especially when working with salt, but here weights aren’t critical. You need about a 1/2 inch of salt (2 centimeters), covered by a good veal stock.

Veal Salt

  • 3 cups/800 grams Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups/500 grams Veal Stock
  1. Pour salt in an even layer in a 13-inch x 9-inch/33-centimeter x 23-centimeter glass baking dish or hotel pan.  Cover with veal stock and stir so that the stock covers the salt in all places.  There should be enough liquid to cover the salt by a good 1/8 to 1/4 inch/3 to 6 millimeters.
  2. Place the dish in an oven at 180 degrees F. / 82 degrees C.  Leave in the oven, stirring occasionally, overnight or until the liquid has evaporated (generally around 18 hours for my oven).  When it becomes crumbly and slightly sticky (a brown sugar like consistency) mix it to redistribute evenly.
  3. For the best results, leave the dish uncovered on the counter to dry out the salt further
  4. Keep out in a salt shaker or in ramekins, or store in a deli cup.  It should keep indefinitely on the shelf if all the moisture is gone.

If you liked this post on veal salt, check out these other links:

© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved

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37 Wonderful responses to “Veal Salt”

  • Chris Muncy

    Nice find! I do something similar with course sea salt.

    Being from Texas we BBQ and smoke a lot here :-) So if I have room in the smoker, I get a cookie sheet out, spread a few pounds of course sea salt on it, and let if smoke with the meats, Every 30 minutes or so, when I check the fire or the meat, I’ll stir the salt up a bit.

    Once your meat is done, your salt will take on a nice smokey flavor. Put it in a grinder and you’re all set!

  • Jeff Dalton

    Did you try veal stocks of various concentrations to see what impact that made on the veal-iness of the resulting salt?

    It is such a simple idea to flavor a salt with a liquid and then re-dehydrate it. It opens up lots of different ideas to make flavorful salts from other liquids. I’m thinking of the prawn cocktail flavored crisps from Walkers and wondering if it would be possible to do a re-creation with a shrimp/seafood stock.

    I wonder, will it work with alcohol based liquids? e.g. bourbon salt, tequila salt, etc…

  • Matt

    Ever since your NYT review of the Modernist Cuisine books, I’ve started making our chicken stocks in the pressure cooker – and they’re way better than what we were doing before. And since I’ve been following the veal stock threads here, I was wondering if there’s anything in particular you’d do to adjust the recipe you give for veal stock to make it that way? Presumably less liquid (since you don’t lose much to evaporation), right? Is there a bone/meat weight to liquid volume ratio for optimizing pressure-cooked stocks?

  • Sean

    Way to go Josh, and great pick for the winner Michael. Based on the fact that Josh used this method to successful ends with both malt vinegar and veal stock, is it safe to say that this method would work with other high flavored liquids to impart flavor to salt? I can think of dozens of potential applications for this and I am planning on experimenting with various flavors soon. Beginning, of course, with this amazing looking veal salt.

  • Salty Lass

    Props to Josh. Very innovative, indeed. Chorizo salt is as far as we’ve taken meat-based applications for salt.

  • Attrill

    Incredible! The obvious next step is to make bacon using veal salt.

  • Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    Gotta agree with everyone saying this technique should work for lots of liquids. I’m thinking:
    * A citrus salt to use as a poultry rub before putting it on the rotisserie.
    * Roasted garlic and onions for … just about anything, actually.

  • KBCraig

    Now I know what I’m doing with that batch of crawfish stock I made….

  • Bee

    Ruhlman I see why you have an editor…You might want to fix the typos… always = also, garde mange = garden manager

    Cool post though.

    • ruhlman

      always should be only, thanks. And garde manger is a station in a restaurant kitchen. usually refers to cold food.

  • darren

    I was thinking about this today. This is essentially a veal bouillon cube recipe. Though more salt. Wow, a respectable bouillon cube. There is something to shoot for. A shelf stable dehydrated stock that doesn’t suck. I’m all for it.

  • bob del Grosso

    Josh, I’m not sure what I admire more, your idea of making veal stock flavored salt or the extremely simple method you chose to make it. Very cool.

  • Paul Kobulnicky

    I too second all of the “brilliant” comments.

    For all of you gardeners out there, especially garlic growers … at this time of year when last year’s garlic is starting to sprout and you are wondering what to do with it … make your own garlic salt. Clean the garlic and remove the growth. Then, process as the veal salt above … pulse garlic and coarse salt in a food processor (or grind it with a mortar and pestle if you want to be really artisan about it ) and then spread on a baking tray and dry out slowly in a cool oven. Pulse in the processor again when dry.

  • corey

    been obsessing over this all weekend, stoked that it’s finally the weekend and i can get moving on this project!

    and oh the possibilities of liquid infused salt… i think some Pho salt is in order too…

  • Elizabeth

    My mom walked into the kitchen while I was making this recipe only to see me dumping armloads of salt into a pot of beef stock.

    “It’s, um, beef-flavored salt…”

  • allen

    I made a lot of flavored salts last fall for popcorn seasoning, and a few flavored sugars. I tried some dried cilantro and lime zest, matsutaki mushroom salt and a few not so good: orange fenell was one that sounded better than it was. Cilantro lime was very good and held up well, matsutaki was great on steak but does not hold up well like truffle salt. I will have to try some veal stock, great way to preserve a good flavor. Brilliant Josh, thank you!

  • subhorup dasgupta

    I live in Hyderabad, which has really hot dry summers, and salting, sun drying, and pickling are common. Pickled lime is a specialty, with just lime and salt, which turns to lime salt by the next season even if you store it cool and dark. Salted meats too are common, for example http://goo.gl/U4T1g. This, however, is an absolutely novel take. Will surely do a run.

    • allen

      Thanks Subhorup, looks great, and I like the coat hangar on rod for moving the meat – I will be using this effective way to transfer the meat in the future. The sun is the original dehydration method to get to the next growing season, I did sun dried roma tomatoes last year in the sun and I’m still using them in my guacamole.

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