July 25th, 2012

Different kinds of salt I like to use

Salt. Technically, it’s known as Sodium Chloride. It is dissolved in that seawater that comprises around 97% of the water on earth. We sweat salty water. We cry “salt tears.” Yes, salt is around us everywhere – outside of us, in the earth beneath us, inside of our bodies, in our food, and in many of the beverages we drink. We use it to season and enhance the flavors of our food. It sits in jars and other containers beside our stoves and on tables in dining rooms and restaurants.

Given that it is so available, would it surprise you to learn that there is a whole kind-of-once-but-now-not-so-underground community of salt connoisseurs? It’s true! They behave just like wine connoisseurs. There are restaurants around the world built into salt mines. Some restaurants (and home cooks, too) serve food on salt planks and bricks.

It is actually quite amazing when you begin to explore just how many varieties of salt exist in our world. We have simple iodized table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, Hawaiian black lava salt, French Fleur de Sel, smoked salt… The list goes on and on.

As you might suspect from the picture above of the salt varieties I like to use, I don’t like iodized table salt. The iodine is added artificially in processing, and some believe it actually to be toxic. Aside from potential toxicity, for me and many of my friends, iodized salt has this weird metallic flavor. Yuck. I use mainly kosher salt, pink Himalayan salt, and of course sea salt. Lately, I’ve been favoring the pink Himalayan salt for most of my cooking. I like sea salt on salads.  Typically, I use kosher salt to season the water I use to cook to pastas or grains. But all three are great choices for whatever cooking you are doing.

I find that the Himalayan salt and the sea salt have a softer, milder flavor and are generally less harsh than the kosher salt. Maldon is also a lovely treat!

Having gotten my start in TV working for Martha Stewart, I learned quite a bit about quick kitchen tricks to enhance flavors. One of the most curious and cool is that salt can bring out and amplify the delicate sweet flavor of fruit and ice cream. Martha would often sprinkle just a touch of salt on melon, sliced peaches, pineapple, ice creams, sorbets, stewed fruit, and more, right before serving. Just a small sprinkling of salt would add that little pop of flavor that could make all the difference.

So the next time you are in the market, check out the various varieties of salt that are available. Try a few out, and use the one that lights your tastes buds on fire.

PS- Remember, a little salt goes a long way, so please use it sparingly!!!


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  1. hey Peter, that‘s funny, pink himalayan is my favorite too, love that softness..
    when i came to Serbia recently, i have discoveeed that the all kinds of salts
    sold here are much saltier then our american salts..i wonder if american
    salts are somehow diluted or something..
    yes, I knew about salt worship, but not enough, i‘d like to learn more
    thanks for writing this, love it!