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fresh strawberries and salt


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I was making a strawberry sauce for shortcake yesterday and just did some sugar, lemon, a  of bit of vanilla with half the strawberries (quart) chopped and cooked for a couple of minutes and then added some cornstarch and the other half (sliced) of the berries and brought back briefly to a simmer then cooled. Before taking off the heat, I threw in a quarter teaspoon of salt...I considered balsamic but already had the lemon juice for acidity. Thinking to ramp it up, I consulted the Flavor Bible. No surprises with flavor combinations but a new category labeled "Avoid" with a single element...salt. 

Why?

I tasted it and it was fine, not sweet enough so I added a little honey. Now it's perfect. But why would one avoid salt with strawberries?

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When talking about taste most things are subjective, so there's nothing to worry about if someones says the opposite of what you like. Personally I think that a bit of salt and white pepper (other peppers are fine too) is mandatory with strawberries. This view depends also on what kind of formation someone had, this kind of seasoning is much more used in restaurant desserts than in standard cakes shops.

Another weird thing in The Flavor Bible is that they say to avoid pistachios and strawberries. That's one of my favourite combos, it's widely used by tons of pastry chefs (see Montebello by Pierre Hermé).

The first rule is: "if you like it then you are right". All other rules are secondary.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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26 minutes ago, highchef said:

But why would one avoid salt with strawberries?


I have no idea what the reason would be. But something I just learned while sitting here reading this while I eat some good quality strawberry ice cream in the attempt to get my freezer cleared out as much as possible and drink a cup of coffee because it's not really warm enough for ice cream here today... for me personally, strawberry and coffee seems to be a combination I might want to consider avoiding in the future. Considering all the other ingredients in the ice cream are coffee friendly, I'm blaming the strawberries for the odd taste overlap I'm getting. But it could just be me.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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5 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:


I have no idea what the reason would be. But something I just learned while sitting here reading this while I eat some good quality strawberry ice cream in the attempt to get my freezer cleared out as much as possible and drink a cup of coffee because it's not really warm enough for ice cream here today... for me personally, strawberry and coffee seems to be a combination I might want to consider avoiding in the future. Considering all the other ingredients in the ice cream are coffee friendly, I'm blaming the strawberries for the odd taste overlap I'm getting. But it could just be me.

That's the kind of combination that I thought they were implying...like there was a chemical thing with the two items that was simply incompatible. l always add a pinch of salt to sweet things to kind of define the sweetness so I added the salt as a matter of course. It really didn't do anything to throw the flavor off so I was at a loss to explain the reason for it. Otherwise the 'Flavor Bible' is a great resource, just sometimes a little wonky? btw, I Blinged and googled and oddly all I found were 2 conversations about how strawberries served with salt and pepper were so refreshing. I am always finding these little cookbook mysteries!

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14 minutes ago, teonzo said:

 

Another weird thing in The Flavor Bible is that they say to avoid pistachios and strawberries. That's one of my favourite combos, it's widely used by tons of pastry chefs (see Montebello by Pierre Hermé).

 

I missed that.

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17 minutes ago, teonzo said:

Just checked, it's under the pistachio section, not under the strawberry section.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Ha! pistachio's are listed compatible under strawberries..this book tends to lean to particular likes of the chefs that they are quoting per subject. I am not dissing this book, I use it all the time for ideas, but I think I should have been a cookbook editor.

 

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Well in retrospect I can say that strawberries with their almost delicate flavor seem to be enhanced by more sugar so perhaps salt would cause an unwanted taste. I definitey get coffee + strawbeerry = ick. unless the coffee was super Schlag heavy 

Edited by heidih (log)
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32 minutes ago, highchef said:

Ha! pistachio's are listed compatible under strawberries..this book tends to lean to particular likes of the chefs that they are quoting per subject. I am not dissing this book, I use it all the time for ideas, but I think I should have been a cookbook editor.

 

If you look close there are a lot of inconsistencies: pairings suggested under one ingredient but not under the other; pairings in normal font under one ingredient and in big bold under the other; so on. Another example is the pairing lychee + raspberry + rose, the foundation of the Ispahan by Pierre Hermé: it's considered the best pairing in pastry of the last 30 years, so a cookbook writer should know about it, but you don't find those couples in big bold font.

Editing that kind of book must be a nightmare, not just for the single task, but because there are miriads of things to cross check. It's pretty human to slip errors in that huge volume of work. Besides that, pairings are subjective, so they are faulty by nature. Such a book should be seen as source for inspiration, not as a real bible to follow blindly. I'm not a big fan of the Page + Dornenburg couple, the thing I really can't stand is their continuous search for a formula for creativity. But I can only admire them for having the idea of putting out "Culinary Artistry" and starting the research for written pairings.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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4 minutes ago, teonzo said:

 

If you look close there are a lot of inconsistencies: pairings suggested under one ingredient but not under the other; pairings in normal font under one ingredient and in big bold under the other; so on. Another example is the pairing lychee + raspberry + rose, the foundation of the Ispahan by Pierre Hermé: it's considered the best pairing in pastry of the last 30 years, so a cookbook writer should know about it, but you don't find those couples in big bold font.

Editing that kind of book must be a nightmare, not just for the single task, but because there are miriads of things to cross check. It's pretty human to slip errors in that huge volume of work. Besides that, pairings are subjective, so they are faulty by nature. Such a book should be seen as source for inspiration, not as a real bible to follow blindly. I'm not a big fan of the Page + Dornenburg couple, the thing I really can't stand is their continuous search for a formula for creativity. But I can only admire them for having the idea of putting out "Culinary Artistry" and starting the research for written pairings.

 

 

 

Teo

 

I have double cross referenced this book a hundred times and I've seen the inconsistencies you mention, but I still consider it a valuable reference...mostly for inspiration when I find myself with something unfamiliar. You are totally correct with the editing- it would be a nightmare, still I think they should use this as the core for something with an easier cross index (or just better cross checked) and split the food from the cuisines and the seasons.."Spring" is listed. Why? Seasons are listed under the individual flavors. If spring has a particular flavor, I'd say it was grass. 

I think I'll pick more strawberries tomorrow and throw some salt on them for the hell of it and see if I get a coffee reaction.

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9 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


I have no idea what the reason would be. But something I just learned while sitting here reading this while I eat some good quality strawberry ice cream in the attempt to get my freezer cleared out as much as possible and drink a cup of coffee because it's not really warm enough for ice cream here today... for me personally, strawberry and coffee seems to be a combination I might want to consider avoiding in the future. Considering all the other ingredients in the ice cream are coffee friendly, I'm blaming the strawberries for the odd taste overlap I'm getting. But it could just be me.

 

This might depend on the coffee. My favorite coffees are single-origins roasted light enough that the fruit flavors shine through. Berry flavors are pretty common in East African coffees. I had a wonderful natural process Guatemalan coffee a few months back that tasted distinctly of strawberries. 

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Notes from the underbelly

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8 hours ago, highchef said:

I have double cross referenced this book a hundred times and I've seen the inconsistencies you mention, but I still consider it a valuable reference...mostly for inspiration when I find myself with something unfamiliar.

 

I think this is how the authors imagined the book would be used. It's much more about surprising possibilities than about the AVOID suggestions.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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9 hours ago, highchef said:

I think I'll pick more strawberries tomorrow and throw some salt on them for the hell of it and see if I get a coffee reaction.

 

I could be wrong here, but it sounds like there may be a distinction between using salt as a seasoning to balance sweetness and salt as a distinct flavouring.  While I frequently use salt to balance out white chocolate with strawberries, I'd certainly hesitate before pairing the fruit with a salted butter caramel.

 

In fact, I'd probably avoid pairing that with most fruit.

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6 hours ago, paulraphael said:

This might depend on the coffee. My favorite coffees are single-origins roasted light enough that the fruit flavors shine through. Berry flavors are pretty common in East African coffees. I had a wonderful natural process Guatemalan coffee a few months back that tasted distinctly of strawberries.


That could very well be the case. I have most of my stuff packed up in preparation for moving, it was cheap who-knows-what-origin coffee from the convenience store nearby that tasted distinctly of being a bad decision... but that didn't stop me from drinking it. :D

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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8 hours ago, jmacnaughtan said:

 

I could be wrong here, but it sounds like there may be a distinction between using salt as a seasoning to balance sweetness and salt as a distinct flavouring.  While I frequently use salt to balance out white chocolate with strawberries, I'd certainly hesitate before pairing the fruit with a salted butter caramel.

 

In fact, I'd probably avoid pairing that with most fruit.

  I am going to sprinkle a bit on a fresh berry (garden has ooodles) and see if I can taste why the 'avoid salt' label. I am curious that way. I would pair that salted butter caramel with apple or banana (bonafee pie)

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4 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


That could very well be the case. I have most of my stuff packed up in preparation for moving, it was cheap who-knows-what-origin coffee from the convenience store nearby that tasted distinctly of being a bad decision... but that didn't stop me from drinking it. :D

 

I suppose you can't assume that a coffee (or wine, chocolate etc.) will go with something just because there are hints of that thing in the tasting notes. I've never tried Ethiopian coffees while eating actual blueberries, or a wine with "barnyard" tasting notes while eating actual ... never mind.

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Notes from the underbelly

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As a child in Florida I grew up salting watermelon and cantaloupe. I don't remember when I stopped doing that--probably when my family moved to Colorado and we didn't eat melons as often as before. That, and the fact that no one in Colorado salted their melons. Is this a Southern thing?

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

Edited by Nancy in Pátzcuaro
typo (log)

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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16 minutes ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

As a child in Florida I grew up salting watermelon and cantaloupe. I don't remember when I stopped doing that--probably when my family moved to Colorado and we didn't eat melons as often as before. That, and the fact that no one in Colorado salted their melons. Is this a Southern thing?

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

 

I remember my Texas born friend's dad salting melon - so probably southern - although here in LA salty spice  mix is given out when you buy fruit fom a street cart vendor 

Edited by heidih (log)
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4 hours ago, kayb said:

watermelon and cantaloupe


Nope... not for me. My grandfather put salt on his watermelon, I never found it appealing. Never even considered it for cantaloupe but I've never felt it was missing something either. 

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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