What does “salt to taste” really mean in a recipe?  Genie the Spice Goddess answers…

“Salt to taste” is such a simple and innocent instruction. We have read these words many times in a recipe without giving them a second thought.  Ironically, when instructed to \”salt to taste,\” we are not actually looking for a \”salty\” flavor. In fact, we\’re looking for every other taste except salty!

What does salt do?  It reduces bitterness in food and allows the aromas and tastes of the other ingredients to shine through.

The next time you are making a salad with bitter greens like dandelion or radicchio, experiment with two vinaigrettes, one with salt and the other without salt. Do you notice that the leaves sprinkled with no-salt vinaigrette taste bitterer than the leaves dressed with salted vinaigrette?

If you have a dish that tastes flat or bitter, try adding salt before searching your spice rack for another ingredient. Taste the dish again to see if the flavors have changed.  Ignore the instinct to taste for saltiness and concentrate on the other flavors.  Are they coming through? Does the soup still taste muddy or are the flavors bright? Can you taste the sweetness in the squash? Do the parsnips have a bitter taste?

“Salt to taste” a little at a time and sample after each addition. Remember, you can always add more salt, but you can\’t take it away!

Here is my recipe for Aegean Greek Chicken, a favorite in every Greek home. My Aegean Gold Seasoning* is the secret ingredient.  It offers a rich Mediterranean flavor enhanced by just the right blend of Kosher salt. Enjoy!

Aegean Greek Chicken


4 dark-meat chicken quarters


Juice of one lemon

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons Aegean Gold Seasoning

1 ounce dry white wine

1 whole lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and clean chicken and arrange skin-side up in a roasting pan. Marinade: mix lemon, olive oil, 2 tablespoons Aegean Gold Seasoning. Pour marinade over the chicken and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle remaining tablespoon of Aegean Gold Seasoning over the chicken. Bake for 50 minutes. Halfway through baking, add 1 ounce of water to the pan, spoon pan drippings over the chicken and finish cooking. Squeeze lemon over the cooked chicken, and arrange on serving platter. Spoon juices over the plated chicken. Serve proudly.

*Aegean Gold Seasoning Ingredients: Kosher salt, garlic, oregano, black pepper, dried onion, lemon peel, paprika, rosemary, red bell pepper, thyme, dried parsley, green onion, sugar, and Genie\’s special touch. 

Genie J. Gekas, aka Genie the Spice Goddess, does her lineage proud by sharing her culinary tradition with the world. Born into a Greek family in Tucson, Arizona, she learned to cook while standing on a stool in her parents’ 5-star restaurant with its European and Greek cuisine.  Growing up, Genie the Spice Goddess loved the Sunday dinners in her home, with at least 15 people sitting down to a weekly feast or holiday celebration. Always experimenting with new flavors and dishes, Genie the Spice Goddess created Greek Village Market so she could share her family’s Greek cooking traditions with you and yours. Although she learned the “pinch of this and a pinch of that” approach to seasoning, she’s scrupulous in the measurements for her packaged seasonings, so you’ll always enjoy the best of Genie the Spice Goddess. Watch for her latest book, Greek Recipes and Remembrances by the Spice Goddess.

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