Sea salt madness

Monday, May 2, 2011

ON SEA SALTS

I was asked to talk about sea salts tonight. There are so many that have hit the market lately it’s insane. What you are looking for is always added flavor and complexity from every ingredient you use. Sea salt is an excellent way to complicate the simplicity. Regular salt is created in a lab. Sea salt is created naturally by the earth with a little help from man. There are really only a few types of regular salt:

1. Iodized table salt
2. Uniodized kosher salt (slightly coarser)
3. Rock or coarse salt

But there are hundreds of sea salts, some manipulated by man and some just pure as the driven snow. Real sea salt also has many many more available textures than regular salt. This opens up again more possibilities for more complexity. If you don’t allow time for salt to dissolve in or on the product you’re salting, you can really take advantage of those added sea salt textures.

Let’s talk about some of the sea salt textures out there.

1. Slate – Literally flaky like slate with sharp edges and inconsistent size.
2. Shattered tempered glass- literally like automobile glass that has been shattered. It’s like rubble. Coarse crunchy and dense.
3. Rock – Super coarse with big and small pieces. Completely inconsistent in size with big “crystal” like hunks
4. Kosher ground – Same size as kosher salt but made from real salt. This is what I use most. I use a Celtic sea kosher ground.

Some of my favorites:

1. Celtic grey sea (rubble)
2. Cyprus black (slate)
3. Hawaiian sea salt (rubble)
4. Norway smoked sea salt

Search “salt traders” or “Selina naturally” and check out the incredible selection for yourself. Get samples and play with them. The great thing about this surge in sea salt is something as simple as grilled fish with olive oil and lemon leaps to new heights with a great salt. And a salad of fresh vegetables becomes and otherworldly experience with the crunch and burst of coarse saltiness.

In a cold or room temp soup, or on top of a hot soup. Over unsalted seared greens. Over chocolate cake. On a savory ice cream or sorbet. Mixed with breadcrumbs as a substitute for parmigiano cheese over pasta. On fresh ricotta crostini with a little bit of honey. Over a braised hunk of short rib Sprinkled over fresh cold roast beef with olive oil and cracked black pepper. On a giant nest of shoestring French fries. On a fresh baked yam or potato. On your lovers belly. Around your margarita glass. On fresh baked rosemary focaccia. Folded into the whipped cream just before you put it on your devil’s food cake. On watermelon. On warm, crusty bread with raw milk butter.

In other words, no one should be using table salt.

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