1. Drop (salt for) acid
In addition to grabbing the saltshaker to boost flavor in soups, stews, and sauces, try a drop of lemon juice or vinegar. Like salt, acid competes with bitter flavor compounds, reducing our perception of them as they “brighten” other flavors. Just a dash—1/8 teaspoon—can go a long way.
2. Use coarse salt when seasoning meat
Use kosher salt—rather than table salt—when seasoning meat. Its larger grains distribute more easily and cling well to the meat’s surface. When a recipe calls for seasoning meat “to taste,” we suggest using about 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt per portion.
3. Pep up—or tone down—your pepper
When exactly you apply black pepper to meat—before or after searing—will affect the strength of its bite. If you want assertive pepper flavor, season meat after searing; keeping the pepper away from heat will preserve its volatile compounds. Alternatively, seasoning before cooking will tame pepper’s punch.