The beginning and the end are the two main times to think about seasoning. For most dishes seasoning at the end is the way to go, but if it’s a slow cooked dish it’s a good idea to add some salt early so that it can cook into the dish.
There really is no substitute for the fragrance of freshly ground pepper, a pepper grinder is a necessity in the kitchen so if you don’t have one, run out and go get one. I try to get the best black peppercorns I can afford.
When it comes to salt we recommend you use inexpensive fine sea salt for bulk seasoning things like pasta water. For crushing over things at the last minute we recommend that you use sea salt flakes.
We’re all responsible for overdoing it with the salt at least once, you just have to think smart when it happens.
Pretty much the only way to fix a serious case of over-salting is to dilute your dish. When it comes to a stew it can get tough, but by not salting the accompaniments such as mashed potato or rice you can disguise your salt generosity.
The power of suggestion can sway people’s taste buds, so rather keep the over-salting situation to yourself.
Before you start cooking it helps to have a think about how much salt each ingredient is contributing. For example, if you have a heap of bacon, olives, capers or anchovies the dish will probably already be salty enough.
Remember that if you’ve been tasting and tweaking your dish for a while, it’s a good idea to have a break every now and then, and a glass of water. You can also get someone else to give you their opinion.
If you are making pies, remember that the filling will be eaten with the pastry, so adding a bit more salt could be a good thing.
Younger people tend to have more sensitive taste buds than elderly people. Likewise, people who rarely eat salty food will be more sensitive to the taste. You can serve some salt at the table for guests to fine tune to their tastes.
The colder things are, the more dull the flavours are perceived. Take this into consideration when cooking these meals.