I am feeling the need to talk about salt and seasoning. This is prompted by a wedding I recently attended. Thankfully, the couple doesn’t live near here and hopefully don’t regularly follow my columns so I can discuss it truthfully.
Almost anything can taste okay with enough seasoning. Yes, there are some disasters that even salt can’t fix. Way overcooking. Way undercooking. Making a combination that doesn’t work together. You get my drift. But okay food? Most of it can be decent-to-good with enough seasoning. Salt, pepper and hot sauce are my three favorite flavor enhancers, though I use many others too.
Back to the wedding in question. The food could have been great on Friday night. They served fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw. All three arrived to the table looking pretty good. But one bite in, and you were hit with no flavor. A few of my family foodies, who I was sitting with, all discussed the need for someone to ask for salt, so we did. Our request to the banquet servers were met with blank stares. We patiently waited, saying how good this meal would be if we could taste the flavors. But alas, the salt never arrived and we had to go without. The result: a very mediocre-to-bad meal.
The next night we had more of the same. The dishes weren’t bad, they just needed salt. If you underseason things, there is almost no way for them to be good. Your tongue literally needs salt to pick up the rest of the flavors. It is best to salt before you need to, like while you are cooking. Always add a generous amount of salt to your water when boiling noodles. Always add a generous amount of salt to raw veggies you are cooking as a base to any dish. For whatever reason, it is hard to get the seasoning right if you wait until the dish is done. That said, don’t go crazy overboard all at first. As long as you add some at the beginning, you can always add more at the end. In fact, I often do this anyway. Taste before serving and then add more salt to taste as needed before you serve. And again, at the table so your guests can match their preferences.
Now, with all that salt (and pepper and other things I frequent to for flavor), lets hope that I don’t get high blood pressure or be ordered to cut down on salt because then I may never be happy with any food. For now, I am salting away, including in this dish. This “scramble” is sort of my go to for using leftovers. In the summer, I will generally boil some potatoes from the farmers market to have them around. I also tend to have some grilled chicken breasts around fairly frequently and I always have salsa, veggies and cheese in my house. This recipe used all of that and more and makes a great, easy meal. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I like it for breakfast and dinner. PS – there is no right or wrong with this recipe, and proportions are depending on what is left and to taste. Feel free to add chopped tomatoes, spinach or kale and anything else you have that sounds good. Leave out the chicken if you don’t like it or don’t have any and mix in bacon if you like. Have fun with it, but season it just right!