Guide to Gourmet Salt Tuesday, March 25 2014
You may have thought you knew all there is to know about salt, but this seemingly simple combination of sodium and chloride can be processed in more ways than you'd thought possible. Think beyond the table salt and learn how different salt textures, appearances and flavors help add complexity to your favorite dishes.
Black Hawaiian sea salt is a finishing salt with a rough, crunchy texture and deep mineral flavor. Harvested from the Pacific Ocean surrounding Hawaii, it gets its coloration and smoky taste from the addition of purified volcanic charcoal, which may have detoxifying effects. Use it on salads, sushi, grilled steak or tofu for an equally beautiful and delicious dish.
Fleur de sel literally translates to “flower of salt” in French. It is hand harvested, making it one of the most labor intensive salts in the world, as well as one of the most coveted. With a delicate flavor that melts in the mouth, this salt is often used as a “special-occasion” ingredient to top sweet treats like chocolate chip cookies, melon or ice cream. If it’s within your means, use it as your go-to cooking and finishing salt.
Grey sea salt is a coarse, unrefined salt with a rich mineral taste and a distinct grey color derived from the natural clays at the bottom of salt ponds off the Atlantic coast. Sprinkle on fatty meats, like beef or lamb, or over roasted root vegetables for a moist, rich flavor.
This savory sea salt has a deep, smoky flavor that perfectly complements barbecue and grilled meats. Made by naturally smoking sea salt over a hickory wood fire, its mesquite finish also makes an excellent addition to your dry rub or favorite vinaigrette.
Believed to be the purest form of salt available, mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt boasts a bevy of potential health benefits. Mined near the Himalayan Mountains, this natural pink salt is used for both culinary and holistic health purposes. Spas and health professionals often use it in body scrubs and aromatherapy, as pink salt may be used to stimulate circulation, lower blood pressure and remove toxins from the body.
This sea salt, harvested off the coast of Sicily, has a delicate flavor and noticeable crunch. Use it as a cooking and finishing salt. It has a low percentage of sodium chloride than table salt and tastes delicious atop tomatoes, salad and fish.