Netflix has released a new documentary series called Salt Fat Acid Heat. Based on her award winning cookbook, Samin Nosrat takes us on a world tour to learn more about the essential elements of flavor and good food, including olive oil.
Lovers of olive oil will enjoy the first episode called Fat. Fat has been reviled in North America. Most people in the USA and Canada believe that fat is inherently unhealthy and should be avoided. Samin makes the bold choice to start her series by celebrating fat and we loved it!
Samin describes fat as a miracle. Fats are essential to the texture of food from crispy fried potatoes to the smooth unctuous mouthfeel of ice cream. Fat is also a carrier of flavor. In short, fat makes food delicious. Samin believes that one of the most important things for a cook to learn is how to harness its magic.
In the premier episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat, Samin travels to Italy and meets with olive oil producers in Luguria. The show tours a 250-year-old grove during harvest and follows the olives to a traditional mill where the olives are crushed with stones and pressed with mats. Though this method of producing olive oil is not typical these days, it was entertaining to watch a small production of olive oil in the traditional way.
Samin's thoughts on salt are also relevant for lovers of olive oil. Her framework for categorizing and knowing which salt to use was excellent and can be applied to olive oil as well. Samin recommends using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt as your day to day cooking salt. This is what she uses to season her food before and during cooking. However, she noted that there is a wonderful variety of finishing salts such as Maldon sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, fleur de del, black salt etc.., which can be used to finish a dish. Similarly, we recommend that home cooks buy a day-to-day olive oil for cooking and to experiment with special olive oils or flavored olive oils for finishing dishes. Just as a special salt can highlight or transform flavors in your food, a special olive oil can amp up the flavor of your finished dishes. In the show, Samin samples salt sprinkled onto ice cream which we also recommend for olive oil. The next time you have a scoop of vanilla ice cream, try drizzling some extra virgin olive oil on top.
We highly recommend watching the show and don’t forget to check out the recipes. We can’t wait to try making Ligurian Focaccia at home!