Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sea Salt- I told you it was coming.

There is nothing more basic in a kitchen than the salt. I add it to almost every dish I make, so the quality of it matters to me. If there is a product I use on a regular basis I try to buy a good one. Sea salt tastes like salt but with some minor differences.

Table salt is mined and highly processed to remove mineral content. It also contains the additive of Iodine. This was added in the depression era as many children were suffering a lack of this essential nutrient. As many iodine rich foods are now widely available this is no longer a problem. Table salt is basic in flavor, but can be flat or dull. I realize that many of the foods we eat come from the ground, but very few of them come from a rock.

Sea salt is produced by evaporating sea water, hence the name. It is a minimal process and Iodine is already in it naturally (in minimal amounts). When the salt is processed many minerals are left which imparts a depth of flavor unseen in table salt. As we retrieve lots of food from the sea I think of it as a much more fitting combination.

How do I buy a good sea salt?
Go to your local grocery store. Many mega-marts are now carrying a variety of good quality sea salts. Thankfully I don't have to venture to a specialty store for this basic item. I always look for a brand that sells a varying degree of coarseness. I look for a minimum of fine and coarse. This indicates to me that these people know salt. Ones with French on them are a bonus as classic sea salt comes from the French coasts.

How much should I expect to pay?
I buy La Baleine at $3 for a whopping 26.5 ounces. This seams to last forever.

Let me know what you think when you try it! Can you taste the difference?

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