Friday, December 30, 2011

A Salt's Worth

Boy, did I get some good Christmas presents! Yes, my loved ones know this foodie well.   I won't bore you with the list but let me show you these salts I got.

I know good salt when I taste it,  like that crunchy, flaky, sea salt or specialty salts with hints of truffle or garlic.  The smoked salt in this picture smells like the inside a barbecue pit.  Last night we tried a little of the Hawaiian red salt in a tossed broccoli and chickpea salad.  It was great, but here is where the subtleties of salt get daunting.  I mean when you enter the zone of red, pink, gray and black salts it is hard to know when to use which salt.  It's a place where all white sea salts are not the same.  All of a sudden my culinary universe has grown.   Do I start with a row of tiny bowls and a caviar spoon?  How do I know which salt is best for which dish?

As you can see I am still very new to the wide world of salt but here is what I have learned so far.
  • Hawaiian Red Alaea Salt gets its name and color from Alaea volcanic clay.  It is used in Hawaii to preserve meat, flavor pork at a luau and in a raw fish appetizer called poke.
  • Sea salt does not actually have less sodium than table salt but because of its size and flavor, one tends to use less.  See here and also here.
  • Black and pink salts tend to have a more mineral or sulfurous taste.  
  • Fleur de sel  is sea salt harvested on the western central coast of France. 
  • Whole foods has a good beginners salt guide.  Click here.
And here is what I recommend:
  • If you live in NY go to Oil, Vinegar and Salt in Chelsea Market for and amazing selection of salts (as seen in pictures above and below. 
  • Try smoked salt on Spanish mackerel because it is awesome!

Tell me more about salt.  I would love to here what you know.


  1. I was inspired by your gift salts. Speciality salts can add flavor to meat or dishes in a whole new way. I know very little about salt except that they are a good addition to cooks closet for experimenting.

    Happy New Year.

  2. I've been thinking about writing about salt for my 's' post! We have a little gourmet salt store here in my new hometown that carries a wide variety, and they've agreed to allow me to highlight them. Let the research begin! : )

    p.s. would it be okay if I linked to your post as well as an additional resource?

  3. Thanks for you comments! SB I am looking forward to your post. I would be honored to be one of your resource links!

    Velva, try the red on meat and the smoked on a good flavorful fish and tell me what you think.

    Happy New Year to you both!