Salt for a Chef: The Oar House

Salt for a Chef: The Oar House

The Oar House on Portsmouth’s historic Ceres Street, is one of the oldest restaurants on one of the most storied streets in Portsmouth. They serve up some of the best seafood and dinner fare on the Seacoast. We let the chef there, the young, talented Sam Darrell have his choice from our salt collection. He chose three salts: Szechuan Pepper, Italian Black Truffle, and Vintage Merlot. Here’s what he did with them:

Seared Ahi Tuna with Hot and Sour Rice Noodles

This seared Ahi tuna is crusted with black and white sesame seeds and seared while leaving a perfect pink interior. For this dish Chef Darrell picked the Szechuan Pepper Salt sprinkled lightly over the tuna. “There’s a reason people douse their sushi in soy sauce and season it with wasabi. They like that salty spicy combo. With the hot and sour noodles and the Szechuan salt on the tuna, we have those flavors running through the whole dish.” While this dish does not appear on the menu, there is a seared Ahi tuna entrée that is similar.

Bone-in Ribeye with Sweet Potato Gratin & Oyster Mushrooms

Next up, Chef Darrell brought us this monster pan-seared bone-in rib eye with local oyster mushrooms, sweet potato gratin, and a sauce made from demiglaze, marsala and port wine, and beet juice for color. For this dish, Chef Darrell picked our Italian Black Truffle salt. “When you’ve got a beautiful piece of meat like this, salting it right is important. If you’re making a steak right, you’re using a lot of salt. Since salting is so important, something earthy like truffle made sense here to go with the rich sauce and the sweet potatoes.” The steak is a perfect medium rare, seared in the pan and then finished in the oven. “I actually got these by mistake. I’m glad I did.”

Port Raspberry Crème Brulee

For dessert, Chef Darrell prepared us a port raspberry crème brulee topped with our Merlot salt. “Most of the time when you’re getting a crème brulee it’s hit with a torch so the custard stays cold, but I did this one in the broiler so the custard gets warmed up a little. The result is a more interesting flavor profile and mouth feel for the custard, which is flavored with sweet port and raspberry puree. The Merlot salt plays off the sweet-salty combo, but also ads a hint of bitterness and really helps you taste the port. “I actually throw in a little beet juice for color. It would be brown otherwise not red. Tastes great though, right?” It does. The Oar House is open seven days a week, and features our Himalayan salt grinders in their dining room. Do yourself a favor and go have a meal there. Tell them we sent you.