By Michele Robert Poche
He’s the salt of the Earth. She’s worth her salt. And take it with a grain of salt. This common tabletop seasoning certainly gets around. But too much of it can cause high blood pressure resulting in serious health problems, such as heart failure, stroke, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease. Surely there are other, more wholesome ways to enhance and season our meals, right?
Read on, flavor lovers. First, I selected a recipe, an old favorite for baked chicken containing only four ingredients. I prepared it four times, subbing out a different alternative for salt in each batch.
Baked Chicken Breasts
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp coarse sea salt (see substitutes below)
- 1 tbsp water (or more if needed)
- Preheat oven to 400°. Spray baking pan with cooking spray.
- Rub breasts with oil and place in pan.
- Add salt substitute to chicken.
- Bake 25 minutes, flipping midway, until juices run clear and center isn’t pink.
Then, I picked four salt alternatives, all of which are available in the average supermarket: wine, Herbes de Provence, lemon juice, and mushrooms.
Which was best? In my tasting group, the Herbes de Provence chicken was the most flavorful with the batch cooked in wine being a close second. Personally, I enjoyed the mushroom recipe, as I’m a big fungi fan, because I found it delivered an earthy, smoky flavor. The lemon juice batch, while perfectly satisfactory, was the most ordinary of the lot.
Which would I make again? Given the choice, I would prepare the chicken with wine, Herbes de Provence and mushrooms to create a French-inspired, saltless dish that my family wouldn’t believe actually came from our kitchen.