By Deborah Eisenhut

Salt is trying to shake its bad health image these days, and although moderation is the key, salt brings out flavor.  It enhances sweetness and reduces bitterness in many home-cooked foods.  Balance is the key and remembering to “salt to taste”, not just loosely piling it on.

There are several kinds of salt, the iodized shaker salt we all have on the table, sea salt and kosher salt, that have a cleaner flavor and no additives.  Chefs use kosher salt in a bowl near food prep and use pinches rather than heavy shakes.  There are classic specialty salts from all over the world but most are finishing salts to be sprinkled lightly over food before serving. 

We all know that popcorn, cooked eggs, French fries and pasta would be flat and dull without a finishing of salt. But as I mentioned, balance is the key.  So many processed or fast food are already heavy with sodium so always taste food before adding additional salt.  Remember, salt is to enhance and boost flavor, not take it over.

Try these recipes for good eats with a ton of flavor without the excess sodium.

SPICY Strawberry (or PEACH) Salsa

MIX 1 1/2 finely chopped strawberries

1 cup finely chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup lime juice 

2 TBLS minced jalapeno

1/2 tsp salt

Chill and serve with tortilla chips

Creamy Potato Salad

2 1/2 lbs red potatoes cut in half, cook half covered until very tender @10 min.

5 slices thick cut bacon chopped, cook in skillet for 10 min and let cool.

Transfer 2 TBLS bacon fat to large bowl and add 3/4 cup mayo, 1 TBLS spicy mustard, 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt.   Whisk to combine and set aside.

Add well drained potatoes to mixture, let cool.  3 stalks thinly sliced celery, 1 can well drained sweet kernel corn and 2 green onions thinly sliced.

Toss all together gently, sprinkle bacon on top  and chill up to a day to serve.

Nutty Hawaiian   (Grown Up Drink)

Fill a shaker with 3/4 full ice.  Add 2 oz Southern Comfort, 2 oz coconut rum, 1 1/2 oz amaretto and 2  6oz cans unsweetened pineapple juice and a pinch of salt.  Cover and shake until condensation forms on outside of shaker 10-15 seconds. Strain into chilled glasses.  Garnish with maraschino cherries.