If you’re looking for a fun way to make cooking more interesting, consider trying out the latest craze — salt block cooking.

Cooking on salt blocks has gained in popularity over the past few years. I recently came across a sizable display of pink Himalayan salt slabs at my neighborhood health food store. The package showed food piled on a pink brick of salt sitting on a grill. (While I got my slab at a health food store, you can find them everywhere from home improvement stores to Amazon.)

I was curious about this cooking method so I bought a slab along with a metal tray you put the slab on so you can carry it around and put it in and take it out of the oven.

The carrying tray is important because the salt slab is heavy (about 10 pounds) and holds heat for 20 to 30 minutes. If you use it on the grill, you don’t want the slab to sit directly on the grates because over time it could cause corrosion.

Salt slabs aren’t just for the grill; they can be used for baking and searing, too. The slabs can withstand high heat (the melting point of salt it 1,474 degrees F.), which makes them excellent for searing meat and seafood. The slabs can also be frozen for serving cold food while imparting a light, salty taste to whatever you’re serving such as cold cuts, cheeses or vegetables.

I marinated shrimp in a garlic-lime marinade and heated the slab in the oven, then I set the shrimp on it. After searing both sides, the shrimp was perfectly cooked and delicious with a little salty bite.

After having success with the shrimp, I decided to try large sea scallops. To cook the scallops, I heated the salt slab on the grill and lightly oiled the scallops. They browned up nicely and I served them with a lemon caper sauce. The scallops picked up just enough salt from the slab and were delicious.

I also used the salt slab to make salted chocolate chunk cookies. I love combining salty with sweet so I thought this was an excellent way to make cookies. If you bake cookies on a salt slab, just be sure to eliminate the salt from the recipe or the cookies will be too salty.

If you’re looking for a way to add zest to watermelon, you can chill a salt slab, set the watermelon on top, then garnish it with a little mint. Put the slab on the picnic table at your next barbecue and your guests will be impressed with the presentation and fall in love with the flavor.

Bonus: there are other benefits to cooking or serving food on a salt slab. Pink Himalayan salt contains more minerals such as potassium and magnesium than regular table salt.

Salt Slab Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

1 pound fresh sea scallops

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons capers

1 medium shallot, minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Pink Himalayan salt slab

Place salt slab on a grill and heat to high. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and set aside.

While the slab is heating, make the lemon caper sauce: Add butter to a sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and shallots. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the capers and cook for an additional minute. Add the lemon zest and rosemary, then whisk in the lemon juice and cream. Cook until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken, whisking frequently, then season with black pepper and remove from heat.

When the salt slab is heated, lightly coat the scallops with olive oil then set on the slab. Cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the scallops are golden brown and no longer translucent. Remove from slab and toss the scallops in the lemon caper sauce before serving.

Salt Block Shrimp

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Pink Himalayan salt slab

Add the ingredients to a bowl and mix gently to coat the shrimp, then set aside. Place a salt block on a grill and heat to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. When salt block is heated, place the shrimp on the block and cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes or until no longer translucent and the shrimp is lightly seared on the outside.

Pesto Grilled Red Peppers with Feta and Watercress

2 red peppers, seeded and cut in half

3 tablespoons pesto

1 cup watercress

2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

Fresh ground black pepper for serving

Pink Himalayan salt slab

Set a salt slab on grill and heat to high (you can also place the slab in an oven set to 450 degrees for 20 minutes to heat). When the slab is heated, brush each pepper lightly with pesto, then set on the slab. Sear each side of the pepper for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly charred.

Set watercress on a serving plate and place the peppers on top. Spread the crumbled feta over the peppers and watercress, then drizzle with remaining pesto before serving and garnish with black pepper.

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups chocolate chunks

Pink Himalayan salt slab

Add butter and sugars to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated, then beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Stir the flour and baking soda into mixture into the creamed ingredients and mix well to combine. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Place salt slab in a cold oven and heat to 350 degrees. Drop the cookie dough on to the salt slab (about the size of a large walnut) leaving space in between each cookie because they will spread as they bake. The number of cookies you can bake will be determined by the size of your slab. Set in the oven to bake for about 5 to 8 minutes.

Baking time will vary but cookies are done when the edges and bottom of cookies are lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a cooling rack.

Salt Slab Watermelon

Assorted pieces of watermelon

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh mint, sliced

3 to 4 lemon wedges for serving

Pink Himalayan salt slab

Set salt slab in the freezer and chill overnight. Set the watermelon slices on the slab to serve, then garnish with mint and lemon.