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Pink Salt in a Foie Torchon


Morgan_Weber
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I have a quick question.

A couple of months ago, I prepared my first torchon of foie at home. I followed Keller's recipe from the FL cookbook to a "T", EXCEPT for the pink salt. I was not able to find any so I substituted Fleur de Sel. Before I get burned by all of you for that decision, I realize I shouldn't have done it.

I am currently in the process of reading Ruhlman's book on charcuterie. His discussions of pink salt and the nitrates/nitrites that go with them have gotten me to thinking.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was in Central Market and was happy to find that they have installed a salt bar. I'm now able to get salts from all around the world...including Himalayan Pink Salt.

My question is this. Keller doesn't specify what type of pink salt to use. Obviously, I would think the Himalayan pink salt that I can get at the market, doesn't contain the same nitrates/nitrites as the curing salts that Ruhlman speaks of. Since the torchon of foie is more or less raw on the inside, should I use something like Insta Cure #2? Or are the natural pink salts like the Himalayan ok?

The finished torchon did not retain the color that I had expected it to be, and I'm wondering if it is because of the salt substitution.

Thanks for your help.

M

Edited by Morgan_Weber (log)
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The pink salt that you should use is the Insta Cure #2. This is what TK ment by pink salt. It is quite commonly used in torchon as well as other forms of charcuterie. The nitrates help keep the desired pink hue as well as acting as a light preservative.

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We just used pink salt for the first time while making venison sausage from Charcuterie. Pink salt (I just learned!) is a flourescent pink color not for consumption but for actually curing meat. This would never be found on a salt bar as it is only to be used in curing. We got ours from a friend but I know they had to special order it.

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the reason it is pink is to keep people from mixing it up with regular salt or sugar since in the wrong quantity it is poison.

himalayan pink salt is just another fancy salt probably colored due to the minerals inherent in its makeup.

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Just as a point of information, the "pink salt" [in the nitrited-salt sense used in Mr Ruhlman's excellent 'Charcuterie] which I have obtained in Canada from a couple of different sources is not pink at all. Nor was the stuff I obtained in the UK. Both were an off-white, slightly more yellowish than ordinary table or kosher salt.

For your Foie I would think that #1 cure would be the one to use - the #2 stuff is a sort of 'time release' version intended for long-curing items like dried sausage or hams.

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The pink coloring is added artificially so that people won't accidentally reach for it and use it like regular table salt. That stuff is a good thing to have around for curing (it prevents botulism) but too much of it and it can have some very serious side effects (including death).

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For your Foie I would think that #1 cure would be the one to use - the #2 stuff is a sort of 'time release' version intended for long-curing items like dried sausage or hams.

I agree, use cure #1 (=salt with 6.25% sodium nitrite) in this case. Cure #2 additionally contains 4% sodium nitrate, which as Derek says, breaks down more slowly into nitrite, and as such is used in long-cured goods. It's of little benefit here. A foie torchon isn't really being cured; the main purpose of the #1 in this recipe is to keep the rosy colour, not to preserve the meat for storage. The recipe will work fine without any #1 but the liver won't be as pink.

If an American recipe doesn't specify what type of pink curing salt they're talking about, it's usually #1. Curing salt #2 is always identified as such in recipes, because using the wrong kind of cure on long cured/uncooked goods can result in botulism. The two are not interchangeable.

'Sel Rose' pink curing salt is, confusingly, another animal altogether. It's a mixture of salt and potassium nitrate (saltpeter), usually from France. I don't know the ratio but from what I've seen it's used in amounts similar to the above curing salts (1t for 5lbs of meat). Chemically it's not the same as either #1 or #2 - it contains no fast-acting nitrite, and potassium nitrate acts like sodium nitrate in that it breaks down to nitrite slowly- and for this reason I'd be reluctant to use it. For what it's worth, potassium nitrate is banned in the USA in cooked foods and is only allowed in very small quantities in dry-cured foods.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Your torchon is not an item that requires a curing mixture since it will be kept refrigerated and the reason for the additive is preserve the color and not retard bacteria.

Traditional French recipe calls for saltpeter(Potassium Nitrate) and a little is all that is needed. Many years ago when Pharamcies sold chemicals and such, I purchased a 6oz container of Saltpeter. With todays restrictions on Hazadous Material I don't where to get any but saltpeter is what you need.-Dick

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