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Cooking on a Himalayan Salt Plate

How would you like a piece of cookware that is 300 million years old? These Himalayan Salt Plates are cut from ancient salt deposits and are considered the purest form of salt.  They are becoming very popular right now to cook on and for good reason - they impart a rich flavor to anything you cook on them and not just a salty flavor. The plates contain mineral deposits that add a richness that you can't get with just salt.  

There are a few ways you can use your salt plates.  You can either cook on them, chill them, or serve foods on them at room temperature.  I have done all three and I suggest that if you find you like doing that, buy two salt plates - one to keep "pretty" for serving cold foods and one on which to cook.  Cooking on a salt plate will eventually change the appearance of the plate and discolor it, so having one that is reserved just for serving is kind of nice.  

Cooking asparagus, thinly sliced beef and snap peas

On a trip to Oregon last year, I stopped by The Meadow and picked up a salt plate from Mark Bitterman.  I love that store. He has an enormous, beautiful selection of salt plates and probably knows more about salt than just about anyone. In fact, he's coming out this year with a new book called "Salted".  You can buy salt plates from many sources now, including Sur la Table and Dean and DeLuca.  Everyone is selling them, it seems.  But The Meadow is the only place I know of that categorizes their salt plates into two groups - Cookware Grade and Tableware Grade.  I think that's important.  

Salt Plates at The Meadow in Portland, Oregon

I have cooked several things on my salt plate and the possibilities are endless. You can cook vegetables, seafood, thinly sliced meat and even eggs on them. You can serve cheeses, cold mozzarella slices or fruit on them. You can chill your slab and even serve ice cream. The Meadow sells a little salt bowl that you can heat up and serve chocolate fondue out of. If your salt plate eventually breaks, you can save the pieces and salt your food by grating the salt pieces on a microplane. 

Mozarella slices with a little olive oil and basil leaves

When preparing food for cooking on the salt plate, don't even season it.  I sliced beef thinly and cooked it without any seasoning except pepper and I couldn't believe the richness of flavor it had.  I was prepared to sprinkle a little soy sauce or something on it, but it did not need a thing.  

Remember that the more moist the food is, the more salty the food will become. Mozzarella slices served on my salt plate were much more salty than the shrimp or asparagus I cooked on it.


You can heat your salt plate on your stove or grill.  The Meadow recommends not heating it in the oven, although most other sources say you can.  I personally take Mark Bitterman's advice and only heat mine on my stovetop or grill.  To heat on the stove, just place right on your gas burner (for an electric stove, you will need something that will prevent it from laying directly on the burner, like a wok ring) and heat on low heat for 15 minutes and then increase the heat to medium-low for another 15 minutes. The salt plate can get extremely hot - they withstand temperatures up to 700 degrees!  Lay the food directly on the salt plate.

When we went to Chicago last year, one of my boys ordered an appetizer that was meant to be cooked at the table on a hot rock.  My son had a lot of fun with that - cooking his thinly sliced beef right at the table on this very hot rock.  You can use your salt plate that way, also.  They retain their heat for a good 20 minutes, enough to cook on, and stay warm for quite a while.

To clean, let the salt plate cool completely.  Brush off any food residue and then rinse under warm water, scrub off any remaining food residue and rinse briefly again.  Do not use soap on your salt plate - the salt plates are naturally anti-microbial. Allow to completely dry before using again.  The plates should last for many uses. 

Have fun!

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Reader Comments (56)

This is the first I've heard of salt plates and it's very cool. Would love to try this.

September 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

There is a local restaurant by us in NJ that serves their sashimi on this Himilayan salt block. They say they sterilize it after each customer...they have a few. It's always a curiosity, but I had no idea you could cook on it!

September 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstacey snacks

I have never heard of these. Would be interesting to try though, thanks!

September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda Merten

Thanks for writing this post. I found it very interesting and I actually have a block of Himalayan salt that I received as a gift which I may try as a cold plate before picking up a cooking slab.

September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Nova

This is interesting post. Never heard of salt plates before.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbergamot

Interesting post. I have heard of these but never knew much about them. Thank you for the informative post.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

thanks for keeping us all on the cutting edge of food trends!! love this and will def try it

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Never heard of this before, cool idea.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Your food pictures are beautiful. Your writing -- which sounds so exotic and fun -- has lured me to The Meadow to buy a salt plate. I love Mark Bitterman anyway.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMitche Leigh Hunt

This is like all have said very interisting.I am a salt person.Ihave to try it. Iwonder how Sushi would be

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Duncan

Hm. Surely though if they impart richness from added minerals, they can hardly be the purest form of salt? I'd stick to one or the other claim, if I were in the marketing departmet!

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVesna

Well I learned something new today from you, and you explained it perfectly. I love how the mozzarella looks on there, I want to take a tiny spatula, lift it off, and put it on my plate! So unique!

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarie

I learned something new today. Very interesting. How do you clean it between cookings?

September 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

From The Italian Dish:

Julie: Gee, I thought I covered that in the post. Here it is again:

To clean, let the salt plate cool completely. Brush off any food residue and then rinse under warm water, scrub off any remaining food residue and rinse briefly again. Do not use soap on your salt plate - the salt plates are naturally anti-microbial. Allow to completely dry before using again.

September 6, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Where in New Jersey is this sushi restaurant? I'd love to try before I buy!

September 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarge Degenholtz

I've seen these used on Iron Chef before but didn't realize they were so versatile and easy to use. You don't have to be an Iron Chef to cook like one!

September 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Elaine you work wonders with you salt blocks! Thank you for mentioning us. I just wanted to let your East Coast readers know that we're working on opening a New York City location for The Meadow this October. We'll have over 100 artisan salts and huge stacks of Himalayan salt blocks. Not to mention 400 varieties of chocolate bar, flowers, bitters, and a few other essentials.

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Bitterman

From The Italian Dish:

Mark: That is wonderful news that you are opening a NYC location for The Meadow! I know it will be wildly successful. Can't wait to see it.

September 7, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

What a cool idea! Can't go wrong with a dish that adds flavor and looks pretty too!

Wow! I have never heard of salt plates! What a great idea!

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarcellina

I LOVE your blog! Found it through The Kitchn. I love that everything is from scratch, something that I have been trying to do the last couple of years. I feel like I will learn a whole lot from your blog, so thank you!

I just love your blog! Those salt plates make the food look so appetizing! Or is it your photography? In any case, your photos makes the food seem so tantalizing. Thanks for educating your readers as far as the Himalayan salt plates are concerned. I had never heard of such a thing.

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbie with a T

hey,you have posted such a effectful article that it will certainly help me

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September 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterreplica watches

If some one used my micro plane on a rock I'd be kicking ass! Nice post though! I going to get a few for the Phoenicia Mediterranean Restaurant in Altoona Pa. It can handle 700 degrees too! O.o Salt seared tuna anyone?

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterComaToast

I love my Himalayan salt plates...I got them on a couple of years ago after seeing them on Iron Chef. We use them all the time!! Thanks for beautiful photos and a great article!

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Wow, I've never heard of salt plates, but I think I've got a new kitchen toy to go buy!

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJustin @ Menuism

This is great!
My new kitchen discovery! And you say it can withstand 700 degree of heat, sure thing amazing plus the fact its pocket friendly since it requires less seasonings. I want to have one!

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMagie

I have always wanted to cook on a salt plate!! They just started carrying them at my gourmet food store so I'm going to pick one up soon and give it a go! The shrimp look delish!

September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGaby

You can put it in the oven, just make sure to set the temperature to less than 700 degrees...

September 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Werth

WHAT GORGEOUS SPACE! Can't say no more :-)
I sooo love italian food and I'm so glad I found you. Now I won't be following you, I'm stalking you :-)

September 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPrerna@IndianSimmer

Now, I am wishing to have a himalayan plate. I want to try cooking using this stuff. especially when I will cook an egg.. :)

September 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHimalayan Salts

I have never heard of salt plates before. It is definitely something I would try using with my recipes. I think my favorite would be the mozzarella which I have a huge weakness for!

I am amazed at all the different uses - and the fact they are antimicrobial is really cool!

September 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz @ SimpleItalianCooking

This is the first I've heard of salt plates, as well... and I am quite intrigued! It doesn't give the food a "too much salt" effect does it? That's the only thing I am weary about!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

From The Italian Dish:

Peggy: If the food is very moist, like the mozzarella cheese, it will take on quite a bit of saltiness. When I cook things like steak, vegetables and shrimp, they were not at all too salty. Just experiment!

September 16, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Yummy! What a great way to add flavor and seasoning without using salt! I haven't used a salt plate yet but i"m looking forward to adding it to my kitchen plate collection.

September 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKayla Ray

Wow!! You are all so positive.

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterValtýr


"Surely though if they impart richness from added minerals, they can hardly be the purest form of salt?"

Usually when a cook says salt he means sodium chloride, which is salt as you and I know it. But in actual fact, salt refers to a wide range of chemical compounds. Salt and minerals overlap, too.

So this block could only have salts in it, without any other contaminates - hence pure. But at the same time, because there are so many different type of minerals (not just sodium chloride) it adds richness.

October 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Thanks for an explanation. I did not know it.

Greetings from the Speedy DNS

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered

Thanks for the new idea. I am always looking for new and fun ways to cook. Is it salty like brine or just a mild salt flavor?

Too much sodium is a no-no in my house.

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaith D.

that egg looked amazing man, who else is lovin it lovin it lovin the egg big upp to all da egg eaters out there !! xx

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentereggmonster

So cool! I've never heard of this before. And what a beautiful way to serve something. Thanks for sharing.

January 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMirabella

Dear Readers,

I stumbled upon this blog while online and wanted to take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Jesse Starrick and I am the owner of Himalayan salt is one of the most incredible natural resources we have available to us and it has a plethora of valuable uses and applications. We carry an extensive collection of Himalayan salt lamps and candle holders for naturally ionizing the air in your environment, as well as Himalayan salt products for cooking and food presentation, allergy relief, and spa/bathing applications. I invite you and your readers to please visit my website when you have a chance - We are constantly running specials and we offer free shipping within the continental United States! Any questions, please email me directly at!

Jesse Starrick

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJesse Starrick

Just saw this on Iron Chef America today. Weird coincidence, huh?

March 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Himalayan salt has been featured on several Food Network shows. It's really beginning to catch on as people become more and more aware of the benefits of using it vs. normal table salts and sea salts.

March 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJesse Starrick

Neat post. I saw this done on the food network but never thought about doing it myself. How impressive for a dinner party.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

This post inspired my boyfriend and I to get a salt block, as well as get one for his dad as a Christmas gift. We finally tried this and we've posted it on our blog, crediting you for turning me on to this fun way to make food! Thank you so much! =)

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