Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Savor The Salt Of The Earth

Have you ever received a gift you love, but one you wouldn't have thought to buy yourself?  That in my opinion is a perfect gift, when a friend expands your horizons by introducing you to something special you paid little attention to before, or perhaps never knew existed.

My palate likes savory, but until a friend gave me a gourmet sea salt sampler, I never gave much thought as to how finishing salts can enhance the flavors of food.  As many five star restaurants know, the characteristics of salt go far beyond table (refined), sea (unrefined) and Kosher (coarse, no iodine).  Often salt -- a compound of sodium and chloride -- is a chef's best tool in creating mouthwatering dishes.

Williams-Somona has a delicious collection of exodic salts to try.  They include:

1. Haleakala red sea salt - Origin: Hawaii; has a nutty, sweet flavor. Use it on pork and fish. Great in Mexican cuisine, tomato soup and Bloody Marys too.
2. Kilauea black sea salt - Origin: Hawaii; has a smoky, sweet flavor. Gives seafood, baked potatoes and corn a charcoal grilled taste.
3. Australian pink salt - Origin: The Murray River, Australia; has a rich, delicate flavor. Use it on meat, seafood, vegetables and salads.
4. Cyrus flake sea salt - Origin: The Mediterranean; has a mild flavor. Complements salads, omlets and seafood.
5. Grey Flur de Sel French Sea SaltOrigin: Ile de Re, France; rich with minerals, has a clean, bold flavor. Great on steak and chicken.

Saltworks is another good place to order gourmet salt, as well as, to learn about the many varieties, textures and uses. (You can google them, if you like.)

Salt is essential in a diet.  Without salt you would die.  Too little results in an electrolyte imbalance in the body; and too much leads to health problems, such as high blood pressure and strokes.  According to many studies, the major source of sodium in Western diets is processed foods and snacks, not home cooked meals.  Just something to keep in mind.

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  1. A Greek restaurant in downtown Manhattan called Thalassa has a private brand of sea-salts that I swear by. They are in Tribeca- on Franklin Street, not sure if the salt is available thru their website. Real excellent salt.

  2. @ Barry: Thank you for letting us know. Great restaurant suggestion for anyone visiting Tribecca.

  3. I will try some finishing salts. Sounds delicious.