On the weekend I made one of my favorite fall/winter dishes – Spicy Sausage, Escarole & White Bean Stew. I’ve written about this dish before so I won’t go into the details, but you can click here to find the recipe.
What I am going to write about is salt… and what to do when a dish is too salty. I am not a cooking expert, so let’s dispel that notion right away, but I did do some googling, the fix worked and I thought I would share it in case anyone else finds themselves in this bind.
As I was eating the stew I was shocked at how bloody salty the damn thing was. I even found myself thinking about throwing it away because it was almost inedible. I know the simple solution would have been to taste the dish as I was making it, but I didn’t so it’s a moot point. I am a recipe cook and tasting isn’t my forte. When I do taste I never know what’s missing and how to fix it so I get stubborn and stick to the recipes and move on. Anyway, back to salt….
So the stew was bloody salty and I didn’t want to throw it away so I went to my trusty friend google for help. I was obviously not the only person to find myself in a bind and a slew of tips on how to deal with this problem. The most common tip was to add chopped potatoes or carrots, which would supposedly suck up some of the extra salt. But just as often as this was offered, someone else was writing about how it didn’t work. So I crossed potatoes and carrots off my list, not to mention that I didn’t have a single potato in the house anyway.
The next few tips were about counteracting the salt with acidity, sweetness and dilution. I was pretty desperate so I thought why not try everything and then I added a bit of red wine for good measure… because why not!
I started by adding in some extra water to dilute the stew, which turned it more into a soup, but I was fine with that. I also used half of a lemon and drizzled the juice [slowly] into the stew, stirring and tasting (yes tasting… I had already learned my lesson once and wasn’t going to ruin the stew more). I did the same with sugar… sprinkling a tiny bit in at a time, stirring and tasting, being extra careful to not make the damn thing too sweet.
I kept adding, stirring and tasting until the stew was edible again.
Oh and another lesson before I forget, if you aren’t using homemade stock, buy the no-salt added kind. I think this was the culprit from the beginning – argh!