I just got off the phone with Mark over at The Meadow and I am now spilling over with ideas and uses for the salt blocks. It turns out, despite my own misguided thoughts, that the salt blocks can take direct heat from either gas flames or an electric source. I also believe that using them on a French flat top will work quite well. My initial thoughts about using the blocks to cook on or to cool on revolved around heating them in an oven. Yet, my conversation with Mark broke down those barriers. By being able to directly heat the salt blocks means we can directly cook on them. We now have a salt griddle. And what does one cook on a griddle? Eggs of course. We put the salt block over a medium heat and let it get nice and hot. Then, we added a pat of butter to the block and once it was melted Aki cracked an egg on top of the pool of sizzling butter. Viola, we were cooking on a block of salt.
The direct application of heat opens a huge portfolio of possibilities. As for the cold side of things, we have a block in the freezer to serve raw fish, vegetables and meats on, although I'm not sure exactly what yet. For those out there with liquid nitrogen on hand, think about the possibilities. Salt frozen fruits and vegetables. Salted raw fish in frozen and semi frozen states. The ideas are just beginning to blossom.
Oh yeah, and if the cost of the salt blocks was a bit too much for you before, it turns out new sources have allowed the prices to drop substantially. They are now quite a bit more affordable than they were just last week.