First, let me say that I am, in no way, a selmelier. However, I do believe I know more about salt than most. Most of us take common salt for granted. Salt has gotten a bad rap of late. We tend to eat far more than is necessary. But a life without salt, or more specifically, food without salt is unimaginable, because salt is a basic human taste. Salt serves other purposes other than seasoning food, like using it for food preservation or baths in soaking tubs, but for the sake of this blog, let’s talk about using salt to enhance the flavor of food.
All of us are familiar with table salt, but what has eluded many of us are the other forms of salt we can use to season food. It is important to note that salt is regarded as the world’s most essential mineral.
What is the difference between Kosher salt and Sea salt? Good question, right?
Actually, there is no difference in Kosher and rough sea salt. For the most part, all salt has the same chemical makeup. Kosher salt has rough large crystals that dissolve in your mouth. It is often used as a finishing salt…added to chocolate perhaps, to give that crunch sensation. Sea salt…let’s talk about sea salt.
Where does sea salt come from? It comes from the evaporation of seas all over the world. That is what accounts for the difference in its appearance and taste. Even though there are no added health benefits to using sea salts, the various in texture and taste makes it worthwhile.
The variety is impressive. There is flavored sea salt and natural sea salt. Natural sea salt is that which is harvested from various seas around the world. Depending on the terrain and climate, its salt will have a distinctive and unique flavor, which is why one of my favorite salts is the truffle salt, which is a Mediterranean salt with a combination of finely ground truffle and porcini mushrooms added for emphasis. Sprinkle a little of this on a portabella and spinach omelette, OMG!!!
Lest I forget black salt. Very exotic in its appearance, it is often harvested as whole crystals. Perfect as a finishing salt on salad, seafood, chocolate and even watermelon. It adds a crunch with nutty flavor to excite the taste buds.
Other natural sea salts to try are:
- Himalayan Pink (Pakistan)
- Bamboo Jade (Hawaii)
- Black Lava (Hawaii)
- Sel De Guerande (France)
- Fleur De Sel (France)
- Blue Diamond (Iran)
- Red Hawaiian (Hawaii)
- Black Salt (also known as Black Lava Hawaiian salt)
These are just a sampling of the natural sea salts that are available to enjoy.
Flavored sea salts are products of the imagination of its producers. Girlichef’s Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez makes a myriad of sea salt combinations like Lavender sea salt, where she takes dried lavender buds and blends them in a mini food processor until it becomes a powder. She then adds the salt (light grey Celtic sea salt) and blends again. This method can be used for many flavored salts. How about macadamia sea salt?