The next step is to learn how to add salt to our cooking ingredients, depending on the intended use.
Let’s start with the most fundamental of all ingredients, the water and, generally, the liquids, in which we soak, boil, simmer vegetables, pasta, meat, fish, rice, legumes, etc.
If our means of cooking (water, broth, sauce) is not properly salted, the food will become MEDIOCRE, FLAT and BORING and it will be very difficult to improve it along the way. That´s why we must MEASURE and also TEST the salt we add to liquids, broths and any other means of cooking.
- In the liquid we are going to boil meat, pasta or soak legumes, we use about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of salt for each liter of liquid.
- If the food we prepare does not contain extra added salt, such as spaghetti AOP and other pasta served with a non-liquid sauce, we increase the amount of salt in the boiling liquid to about 50%.
- If, on the other hand, we prepare polenta or rice in a little amount of liquid (such as pilaf) we reduce the salt to half teaspoon per liter, since the polenta or the rice will absorb all the liquid (and therefore the salt), until it has finished boiling.
- If, in the water we are going to boil vegetables, especially greens, for a very short period of time (from seconds to 2 mins aprox), we double or triple the amount of salt (4-6 teaspoons per liter) depending on the occasion (the shorter the boiling time the more salt), without fear that they will be oversalted since the short stay in the liquid will reduce the salt that will be absorbed.
We also use very salty water when we boil shrimps and other shellfish, because the salt must penetrate their hard shell and reach their flesh.
In any case, we ALWAYS TRY BY MOUTH to see how it looks to us and, if necessary, we correct the salt (unless we make the same dish every day and we have pre-calculated the salt).
(excerpt from the lemma Salt and Brines of the DG book)