Sunday, May 04, 2008

Salt...who knew there were so many different kinds?

I don't claim to be an expert in salt.
All I know is that too much of it makes my ankles turn into cankles.
But it is such an important component in flavoring our foods.
Allow me to offer a little vacation from Lunchboxes to "season" your tastebuds to the intricacies of salt.
There are so many different kinds of salt out there.
Sea salt, iodized salt, black salt, gray salt, Pacific Sea Salt, Atlantic Sea Salt, salt from almost every country in the world and the list goes on and on.
My favorite?
Good ole' Kosher Salt.
Yep, that stuff in the blue box at the store for a buck and a quarter.
Because it sprinkles well, doesn't taste as "salty" as regular table salt and it melts well.
Once you try Kosher, you never go back.
I think the reason is really because it takes less Kosher salt to flavor food well.
Grab some in your fingertips and you can immediately feel the difference. The granules are larger, but you actually grab less salt.
Regular salt tends to stay on your tongue in the exact same spot you place it, and larger granuled salts melt and wash over your tastebuds for a less intense flavor, but better flavor nonetheless.
One my cousins, Frank Terzoli, from Top Chef season 2, came and did a cooking demonstration for me at one of my Pampered Chef meetings last year, and he brought some Black Hawaiian Sea Salt for one of his dishes, and he left it behind for me to try. He, being the consummate Chef he is, before the demo, took a pinch and just popped it in his mouth.
I, being of sound mind, and knowing what my ankles would look like the next morning, did not try it, but I was intrigued anyway.
I used it in a few dishes and it did impart a delicate, "different" kind if vibe to my dish.
It was a "wet" salt. It may have been volcanic salt for all I knew... but I like to try new things.
Here are my favorite ways to use large granule salts...
1. Sprinkled over homemade dough just before baking.
2. Over fresh cut veggies just before roastin.
3. Wetting the rim of a Martini or Margarita glass.
4. In any recipe calling for salt.
Try it... I NEVER use regular salt anymore.
I am a salt snob now.
Penzeys Spices has a great collection of different kinds of salts.
And they are very reasonable too.
So that's my bit about Salt.
Have a great Sunday night... what's left of it.


angela said...

I have a blend, Tuscan sea salt, in a grinder that is great. I only use regular salt for baking.

Adrian & Randy said...

I have kosher salt and have really not known how to use it. I think I will be brave and start using it. You might turn me into a good cook after all!!