Salt Block Surf ‘n Turf

the salt plate 2Have you heard of this new trend? Cooking on an enormous block of 600 million year old Himalayan pink salt? Seriously! At the price of pink salt, you wouldn’t think there was enough salt in all the Himalayas to be able to sell it in 25 lb slabs. But apparently there is. For now anyway. And made for all of us galley pirates that can’t let a cooking trend go by without giving it a test drive.

Did you catch that weight? Yup, 25 pounds! Not exactly sailboat friendly. But this was a Mother’s Day gift from my skipper. And after all, he was the one just raving about salt plate cooking after a gourmet treat on a ski trip. I wouldn’t suggest taking this cruising, but it turns out to be a great cooking plate for a small get together on the hook or at the dock.

The beauty of a salt plate is that it retains its temperature…hot or cold…for up to 20 minutes. So it can be used chilled as a serving platter…great for deviled eggs and shrimp cocktail …or hot enough to cook on. Tonight, we’re going with the hot plate cooking method.

salt plate in galley ovenThere are strict procedures to follow when cooking with a salt plate. The plate has to be heated up VERY SLOWLY and it needs to be SUPER hot when you lay on your meat. I’m new to this, so bear with me. I put the plate in a cold oven and lit the flame, letting it heat up to just 250°. Then I took it up to 300°, then 350°, 400°… on up to over 500 degrees. This will take over an hour. You can also heat up your block on the burner; again very slowly. But my oven seems to get hotter than my burner so that’s the route I took.

We’re having scallops and flank steak tonight. I thought those would be perfect for the salt plate novice…seared on the outside, juicy on the inside. With simple dipping sauces for each.

Salt Plate Surf ‘n Turf

1.5 lbs flank steak
6 sea scallops
Fresh grated black pepper
Boston lettuce greens
3 peeled, slice oranges


1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons scallions
Juice of two oranges

Mince ginger and scallions together. Squeeze the orange juice over the minced spices, stir and set aside.

orange ginger dipping sauce


1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 habañero pepper, cut in half and seeded (try not to touch seeds with your bare fingers!)
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

add honey
Mix the minced ginger and garlic together. Add the habañero pepper to the bowl. (this will be removed before serving.) Then add the honey, soy and oil. Stir well and set aside.

sliced flank steakThinly slice the flank steak. You can add an unsalted dry rub to the beef (tonight I used a Char Crust Ginger Teriyaki rub) or just plain fresh ground black pepper. No salt is needed. The steak and scallops will get all the salt needed from the salt plate.

dry rub

Pat the sea scallops dry, pepper and set aside. Meanwhile, your salt plate is heating and heating…

in the oven hotAfter your salt plate has been in the oven for about 1.25 hours–with a sustained temperature of over 500º for 15 minutes of that time–carefully remove from the oven and place on the largest, most heat-resistant hot plate or trivet that you have on board. A thick cutting board works great. Fortunately, many of the salt plates have a tray sold with them, but you’ll still have to put the tray on a board or trivet. This salt block will be about 550º but you’d never know it to look at it. It hasn’t changed color and it doesn’t smell. Just be sure you and your guests don’t touch it!

heated salt plate on table

The rest is simple. Lay out individual plates for each guest with lettuce greens and sliced oranges. Then just drop your steak and scallops onto the hot salt and watch them sizzle and sear.

cooking on the salt plate

The plate begins to cool down the minute you remove it from the oven, so don’t be too leisurely about cooking. Lay all your food on as quickly as you can. The meat and scallops turn easily with a fork.

frying on the salt plate

If our plate tonight had been a little hotter, we’d get that nice crisp browning to the scallops. Next time. They were cooked through nontheless. Tender, juicy and succulent.

working the salt plate

Let your guests have fun cooking their own food. And no pots or pans to clean up tonight. Just let the salt block cool down completely before cleaning. (CLEANING: don’t submerse under water. Use as little water as possible as the salt will eventually dissolve. Just scrape off the salt plate as best as you can. What lingers adds to the “seasoning” of the plate. Eventually, after many dozens of uses, the plate will dissolve enough to be unusable to cook on. Then just grind it up for shaker salt.)

salt plate surf n turf 2

Lay the cooked food out on individual plates and add the sauces.

Diesel the morning after

(Shhh….and share a little with your furry friends who smelled this all cooking on the table….; )


5 thoughts on “Salt Block Surf ‘n Turf

  1. Inspired by this post I asked for a Himalayan Salt Block for my birthday! My aunt purchased a large plate for me from Williams-Sonoma. I decided to try it out on my gas grill and invite some friends over for dinner to test it out with me. I quickly put Alex to work helping me setup the grill and prepare the salt block to the proper cooking temperature. We started the grill on low – let the block heat up for about 15 mins then closed the grill lid and increased the temperature gradually to medium. It took about 45 mins to an hour before we felt it was hot enough for cooking.

    On the menu – Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon (with skin), corn on the cobb, roasted brussel sprouts, quinoa and lots of wine 😉

    The salmon came out perfect! Not too salty & we only added a little lemon while cooking on the block. ** the salmon skin stuck to the salt block pretty bad but it worked out well because it peeled right off the fish, the meat however did not stick and we didn’t use any cooking oil.

    Overall it was a successful Baltimore dinner party & now everyone wants a salt block of their own 🙂

    Thanks for the great recipe idea Caroline!

    • So great to hear, Taylor!!! Sounds like you followed directions to a T…very slow warm up. Now I know 3 people who have purchased Salt Blocks because of that post. Galley Pirates need a kick back from Williams Sonoma. Loved the pics though and thanks for sharing! Missed you two last night, but now I know why. : )

  2. Leave it to the Galley Pirates to come up with such interesting recipes. Or is the Skipper due the credit? Love the pic of the fully friend, he will always melt my heart. PS, Andrea loved it

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