I'm sure you've seen it on all the cooking shows: a chef saying "Let's season this up a little…" and then, quite literally, just throwing salt at the pan.

It's totally understandable if your first thought is "What, they've never heard of a salt-shaker?"

Salting Water
How Real Chefs Use Salt | Photo by Meredith

Why? That's easy. Because chefs salt a little at a time, all the time. Doing that really helps unlock most dishes full potential. Here's how they do it:

  1. Use kosher salt. I've explained why right here. There are plenty of reasons kosher salt is the standard, but maybe the biggest one is the next tip…
  2. Pinch it. Really. Just pick it up between your fingers and sprinkle (or throw) it on the food. I guarantee you this: nothing will make you feel like TV chef more than nonchalantly tossing salt on a saute pan.
  3. Don't Measure. Really, unless you're baking, there's little need to break out the teaspoons. Since you're adding it often, you'll get the correct amount in eventually
  4. Use a Salt Crock. Pour some salt into a little jar or crock of some sort and keep it by your stove. That way you won't worry about getting the salt; it's always there.

Will This Really Change My Food?

Yes, it will. Salt doesn't just season food, it changes it by drawing moisture out. So add a little as the veggies hit the saute pan to get the moisture moving, then add more in a little bit to "season" them. When they're done, you "add salt to taste" by, well, tasting it.

I've always thought that food salted this way doesn't taste just tastes like it's supposed to.

So salt early, salt often, and enjoy that nicely seasoned food.