as you know, I often praise that the quality of the ingredients equals the quality of your dishes. Today’s Post was suggested by my friend and neighbour Marco, to whom I thank for the contribution of some of the given information.
So, today’s subject is Salt. The importance of this ingredient is such that until quite recently it was more used to preserve food than to season it.
Rare and precious it was in some periods paid in gold. That very same reason made it valuable and during the Roman Empire period, professional soldiers were paid in salt, which gave origin to word “salarium” or Salary.
Some facts about famous salts:
Salt from Mothia: this Sicilian salt is origin from the Salt Factories located between
and Trapani (famous for their windmills that once served to bring water to the ponds). Its roots back from the Phoenician time and you could find it in its two varieties (fine grain and coarse salt), whole or not, at a considerably low price. It is a good generic salt to use in your kitchen, especially in the whole salt version. Marsala
Salt from Cervia: it is another Italian salt of millenary tradition; it is produced next to
. It is a not refined Sea Salt, thus rich of oligomineral. You can visit the “Slow Food” place that manages the only remaining Salt Farm of Cervia (il ‘Camillone’) where salt is still produced in a very artisan way, recovered by hand. The salt of Cervia is known as ‘sale dolce’, or Sweet Salt but its salted capabilities are not minor when compared with other salts but its purity is such that it does not contain any bitter elements, and for such it has a clear and elegant flavour. It is wonderful with fresh fish from the Ravenna Adriatic Sea.
Rest of the world:
Fleur de sel (from Portuguese name Flor de Sal): it is the first salt of the summer, the one of the top of the sea ponds not yet fully dried, it is also the most expensive salt of all, around 35 euro a Kilo. The most famous one is fleur de sel of Guérande in Bretagna (France), over the
Atlantic but it is also recovered in Camargue and in the ( Algarve ). The Fleur de Sel is a small crystals salt and it has a lighter salted flavour than normal salt, it’s more humid and often presents still the remains of a persistent sea breeze, and in some violet perfume. It is a very elegant salt, of opaque white colour. It is a good companion of salads and steam boiled veggies. Portugal
Maldon Salt: comes from
and actually is the preferred salt of Chefs all over the world. England
Its peculiarity is minuscule pyramids shape flakes of an amazing unique crunchy salty flavour. ”Da qui”, “Ferran Adria” restaurants have this particular salt as an ally to conferred a tasty and crunchy flavour to their gourmet creations. Like the Fleur de Sel the Maldon Salt is a crystal and thus, does not immediately melts in your mouth, thus interacts for longer with the food making it possible to create many amazing special tasty effects. The Maldon Salt is perfect, for making contrasts with soft consistencies and combinations, even with Chocolate.
Kasher Salt: is a Jewish tradition salt, with grains middle/large, originally used to help with the extraction of the blood from the meat. Very famous amongst the American Chefs for its practical format (it is very easy to use (dosage) with your finger, good ratio quality/price). The kasher salt is also used to flavour the famous Pretzel bread (those funny shape breads from Central/East Europe).
Rosa Salt of the
Himalayas: is one of the few gem salts amongst the gourmet salts. The Rosa Salt of the Himalayas is in fact extracted from the mountain were it has been from thousands and thousand s of years, dating back to an Era were pollution was equal to zero.
Anyone looking for a pure flavour finds it here, excellent with creative dishes of fish and fruit.
Smoked Salt: it is a recent creation. The real smoked salt comes exposed to smoke of burning wood in order to capture in its flavour the unique aroma of smoked salt. There are some economical versions with added artificial flavouring but with poorer quality.
Flavoured Salts: you can find a huge assortment from Vanilla Fleur de Sel to Lemon Wedge Salt, Lavender Salt, Chilly Salt, Herbs Salt. Bear in mind that such salts have always been prepared at home using a good quality sea salt and then creating with different quality of ingredients to one’s particular taste. Please keep in a dry closed environment at least a week prior to consumption.
Here’s a comprehensive Salt list next time you go to a good Gourmet store:
Other Names: Gos Sel,
Grosso, Sal Grosso Sale
Use coarse salt to grind over any dish, create a salt crust on meat or fish, and to flavour soups, stews and pasta.
These salts bring out the depth of natural flavours of any dish, and also add to a beautiful tableside presentation. The various colours and flakes of finishing salts make gorgeous garnishes for every meal.
Other Names: Flaky Salt
Flake salts can come in many different flake sizes, from the large pyramid-shaped flakes to the paper-thin, delicate flakes.
Fleur de Sel
Other Names: Flower of Salt, Flor De Sal (Portuguese)
Fleur de Sel is ideal for salads, cooked fresh vegetables and grilled meats.
French Sea Salt
French sea salts are ideal for use on salads, cooked fresh vegetables and grilled meat. They are available in coarse grains – ideal for pinching or salt cellars, stone ground fine – an ideal replacement for processed table salts, and extra fine grain – the perfect popcorn salt (or other salty snacks).
Other Names: Sel Gris
It is available in coarse grain – which is the perfect finishing or pinching size, stone ground fine – ideally used at the table instead of processed salts, and extra fine (Velvet) grain – perfect for sprinkling over nuts or popcorn.
Also appropriate for use during cooking for freshly ground salt flavour. Note: Always use a salt mill with a ceramic or plastic grinding mechanism. Metal, including stainless steel, such as is found in pepper mills, will corrode and/or rust after prolonged contact with salt.
Other Names: Alaea, Alae, Hawaiian Red Salt, Hiwa Kai, Black Hawaiian Salt
It is the traditional and authentic seasoning for native Hawaiian dishes such as Kalua pig, poke and Hawaiian jerky. It is also delicious on prime rib and pork loin. Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt is available in fine and coarse grain.
Italian Sea Salt
Other Names: Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino
These salts have a delicate taste and plenty of flavour, without being too strong or salty. Italian sea salts are wonderful on salads or used to finish roasts and sauces. Great as a garnish on bruschetta. Available in coarse and fine grain.
Other Names: Black Salt, Sanchal
Vegan chefs have made this salt popular for adding in egg-y flavour to dishes like tofu scrambles. Kala Namak is used in authentic Indian cooking, and popular in mango smoothies. Available in very fine or coarse grain.
This is the kind of salt most often used on top of pretzels and on the rims of margarita glasses. It is important to note that all Kosher salt is not necessarily sea salt.
Salt made with high standards include ensuring the purity of the water, cleanliness of the salt beds and strict procedures on how the salt is harvested and packaged. These certifications that place their stamp of approval on organic salts consist of:
Nature & Progres (France)
) New Zealand
Soil Association Certified (
Nature & Progres (France)
Soil Association Certified (
Mar, Sel De Mer, Sal Del Marino, Sal Marinho Sale
Some of the most common sources for sea salt include the
Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean (particularly in , on the coast of France and Brittany in the Portugal ). Sea salt is thought to be healthier and more flavourful than traditional table salt. Available in coarse, fine & extra fine grain size, and many sizes in between. Algarve
Smoked Sea Salt
These salts are delicious to use when grilling or oven roasting, and are a must when cooking salmon. Also adds an authentic smokehouse flavour to soups, salads, pasta and sandwiches. Available in fine, coarse and flake grain sizes.
Today we know that most people require less than 225 micrograms of iodine daily. Seafood and many dark greens, as well as sea salt, contain iodine naturally, and the supplement is unnecessary if there are sufficient quantities of either in one's diet. Natural sea salt is a healthy replacement for ordinary table salt.
So, next time that you pick you salt you will know a few facts about this important ingredient. Please remember that the consumption of Salt must be moderate and that the excess of Salt might lead to serious health problems. Quality of the ingredients equals quality of your dishes.
Chef Gourmet Du Art